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High school football: Defense helps Davis Darts beat Northridge, stay perfect in Region 1

Published: Thursday, July 2 2015 7:28 a.m. MDT

Davis' Matt Morrell (22) celebrates his interception with KJ Bishop against Syracuse during prep football in Syracuse Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Davis' Matt Morrell (22) celebrates his interception with KJ Bishop against Syracuse during prep football in Syracuse Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

LAYTON — They didn't play an error-free game.

But the way the Davis Darts handled their mistakes allowed them to keep their perfect region record intact.

“We made mistakes, and I like the way my guys fought through that,” said Davis head football coach Ryan Bishop after the Darts defeated Northridge 27-13 Thursday night. “I can talk about X's and O's and all of that, but we just persevered and I’m proud of my guys tonight.”

Constant rain made for cold, challenging conditions, but Bishop wasn’t ready to use that as an excuse for his team’s turnovers, which included a dropped punt that led to the Knights’ first touchdown.

“Northridge ... is one of the most athletic teams we play year in and year out,” Bishop said. “Coach (Erik) Thompson, his guys, they do a great job, and we knew all the pressure was going to be on our defense. Quite honestly, that’s the way we wanted it because our defense has played well.”

The Dart defense held the Knights to 43 yards rushing. Davis earned a total of 257 yards of offense on 47 plays, while Northridge had 231 total yards on 68 plays.

The play that changed the game arrived when Davis quarterback Colton Chronister scrambled 68 yards and set up the Darts’ game-winning touchdown — a Mason White 3-yard run.

Matt Morrell had two interceptions, including one that set up the Darts’ final touchdown to secure the victory — a 5-yard run by Parker Rose.

“We knew if we just kept playing fast, if we kept making plays, everything would be good,” Morrell said. “It feels great to get this win, to be able to stay undefeated in region. That’s our goal — to win region — so this was just a good win.”

He said the team didn’t get discouraged with their own turnovers.

“We kept our heads up and kept trying to make plays,” he said. I knew if we kept playing it would be good.” Bishop said the turnovers were uncharacteristic for his team, and acknowledged the wet weather definitely made some aspects of the game more difficult.

“We’ve been so good all year at protecting the football, and we just let it get away from us tonight,” Bishop said. “We’re not going to use the weather as an excuse. That’s something we’ve got to clean up if we want to continue to be a good football team.”

Bishop gathered his players together at halftime to help them shake off the mistakes and regroup for the second half.

“Our coaches did a great job of making some adjustments, and you know, our kids came out and executed,” he said. “Give Northridge credit: They hit us right in the jaw. ... I don’t know if you could have a better second-half performance from a group of guys with the field position and such. I thought our interior guys ... just put all kinds of heat (on them). They rose to the challenge.”

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