PHOTO: The Blue Devils faced the Inderkum Tigers in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin section playoffs on Nov. 15 under the lights of the Inderkum High football stadium.
By Lyah Fitzpatrick,
After a first round victory in the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs, the Davis High varsity football team hit a roadblock on Friday, Nov. 15, on its pathway to the section finals: a 43-21 loss against undefeated Inderkum High in Natomas. The roadblock marked the end of a successful season for the Blue Devils.
Blinding stadium lights beat down on the pitch as the 7 p.m. kickoff commenced, and only three minutes passed until the Inderkum Tigers marched down the field and into the endzone for their first touchdown, on their first drive. Four more minutes passed with a DHS punt, and Inderkum ran in another touchdown.
With three minutes left in the quarter, DHS cornerback and defensive back, senior Miles Brower-Douglas, went down injured, stopping play. After restarting the game, Inderkum scored a third touchdown, securing a first quarter 21-0 sweep. For the Blue Devils a win already seemed distant.
But bouncing back in the second quarter, senior Payne Barksdale stepped over the goal line for the Devils’ first points of the game, and senior kicker Teddy Oldham’s extra point was good. The score remained 21-7 for the rest of the half.
After a quick halftime break, the schools’ special teams took the field and Davis prepared to receive the kickoff. The ball was carried to the 25 yard line before the run was broken up.
Early in the 12 minute period, a 30-yard pass to senior wide receiver Ben Busano and 26-yard carry by senior running back Taylor Vaughn pushed back the Tigers, and DHS brought itself back into contention with a second touchdown – the score tipped to 21-14, still in favor of Inderkum.
But a few minutes later, an 85-yard breakaway by Inderkum allowed the Tigers to pull ahead by 14 once again. The Blue Devils didn’t stop battling, and junior quarterback Luke Carrell found Barksdale in the end zone for a 55 yard touchdown, shortening the deficit by seven points.
After a flurry of back and forth action, the rest of the third quarter featured a muffed punt by the Blue Devils and a series of fouls, eventually leading to a fourth Inderkum touchdown. Although DHS managed to drive down the field into Tiger ten-yard territory, no points were scored.
In the fourth quarter, the score 35-21 flared from the scoreboard until the last two minutes. The Tigers acquired their fifth and final touchdown, running a two-point conversion play to gain eight points.
In a final effort, Davis attempted a long pass but was intercepted by Inderkum, signaling the end of Davis’ chance at victory. Inderkum would fill the empty slot competing against Oak Ridge High in El Dorado Hills next Friday, Nov. 22.
After the final was called at 43-21, the Blue Devils solemnly grouped onto the pitch. As pictures were captured, some players shed tears in recognition of their final football game of the season.
Senior middle linebacker and left guard Sebastian Tamayo reflected on the game.
“Obviously the end result isn’t what we wanted, but we went out there and, I mean, we balled out,” Tamayo said. “I’m proud of every single one of these guys.”
Although the loss was emotionally tough, coach Ty Brown was proud of his team’s effort.“I think we never surrendered our sword– we fought until the very end, you know, we just didn’t make enough plays tonight,” Brown said.
He was also optimistic about the future, and viewed this loss as a source of motivation.
“Sometimes it’s moments like this that redefine you, remake you and mold you into a diamond– we’ll be diamonds next year, we’ll bounce back,” Brown said.