LAYTON — Davis High had already seen the movie that was showing Tuesday afternoon at Layton High.
The Darts, a few weeks removed from a 20-point loss at the hands of the Lancers, found themselves down 10-0 seven minutes into the first quarter of the 5A play-in game.
Suddenly, it was an "Oh, boy! Here we ago again, guys," scenario. But, unlike the first meeting, the Darts added a Hollywood twist to the script and reeled off 20 unanswered points to keep their season breathing with a 23-16 win.
Davis (6-4) advanced to the first round of the 5A playoffs and will travel to play the No. 2 seed from Region 2, Kearns (5-5). Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday.
"We'll get our kids ready to roll and hopefully we can show the same resilience we did tonight. We're glad we're in so let's go play," said Davis coach Ryan Bishop, whose team secured a playoff position for the seventh consecutive season. "We relish the opportunity; short week or not, we're in the playoffs. We're going to try and prepare as fast as we can and try and give them our best shot."
"Enjoy the win tonight and move on tomorrow," added Darts quarterback Gage Cook. "Enjoy it but forget about it 'cause it's only one win. We got to focus on Kearns and they're going to be a tough test."
On the third play from scrimmage, Cook pitched an errant toss on the option run that allowed the Lancers to set up at the Darts' 35-yard line.
On the following play, Layton quarterback Hunter Evans hit Jordan Jaramillo for 31 yards to the Davis 4-yard line. However, a false start penalty forced the Lancers to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Ball.
Then, after a Davis three-and-out, Hunter orchestrated a quick, six-play scoring drive that culminated with a 1-yard dive from Marriot Davis to give Layton the 10-0 lead with 4:54 left in the first period.
"We (didn't) panic because we knew we were the better team," Cook said. "When we were down 10-nothin', that wasn't going to phase us at all. You just got to bounce back and stay positive and that's what we did."
From that point forward, Layton struggled to find any offensive flow. With the inability to move the ball on the ground, the Lancers pressed with long attempts down field, completely abandoning the run, only mustering up 50 yards on 18 carries that included a 40-yard run by Willie Uasilaa.
In the first meeting, Uasilaa rushed for 100 yards and a score and added an 85-yard blocked field goal return. However, for an undisclosed reason, Uasilaa missed the first half and only saw limited action in the final two quarters.
Knowing that the run wasn't a threat, Davis dropped back and blanketed the air raid — ultimately securing three interceptions.
Despite the loss, Evans played very well for Layton and finished 31-of-54 for 307 yards.
"Those turnovers were huge today," Bishop said. "That's what we didn't get the first time we played them. We gave them some but we didn't get any back. Our defense was great.
"Layton is explosive on offense and last time we played them they had some real big plays. They did tonight but our defense kept fighting back."
In the second quarter, the Darts methodically began to load up on their three-headed backfield: Parker Rose, Kyle Godderidge and Ashton Reinhold. The three combined for 171 yards on 40 rushes. It allowed them to milk the clock with timely first downs in the second half by keeping the rock on the ground 21 times on 27 plays.
With a four-point lead and 6:24 left in the fourth quarter — following Layton's 11-play, 85-yard scoring drive that consisted of all passes which cut the lead to 20-16 — Davis responded on its ensuing possession.
Behind five straight rushes and the help of a late-hit penalty, the Darts moved into scoring position with fourth-and-3 at the Layton 21-yard line. Bishop, knowing the field goal unit looked sloppy on the muddy surface — with two near misses and one blocked attempt — contemplated snapping on fourth down deep in Layton territory for the second time.
But, after trying to bait Layton offsides, Andrew Fuller came on and split the uprights from 38 yards out.
"We had a real decision whether we were going to go for it on fourth down or try and get as many points on the board as possible," Bishop said. "Even with the conditions, with the field goal team struggling today, I had a lot of faith in our kicker, Andrew. He did a great job steppin' up and hittin' it."
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