Note: Davis finished with a 1-8 overall record in 2017 and was sixth in Region 1 with a 1-5 record. It did not qualify for the 6A playoffs.
KAYSVILLE — When Mitch Arquette took the head coaching job at Davis High, his alma mater, it was a dream come true.
“I wasn't planning on returning when this job opened up, but this is something you really can't pass up," Arquette told the Deseret News after returning from his year-long stint in Floresville, Texas. "This is home and having a little bit of a name recognition and knowing the people here and knowing what the community's about and how they are, you just can't pass up a head coaching job at Davis High School."
The only issue for Arquette and the Darts was the hiring didn’t happen until June, just two months before the season.
As a result, things didn’t go exactly as Arquette or the Darts had hoped for last year. In his first season at the helm, Davis struggled mightily, finishing the season with an 1-8 overall record and a 1-5 record in region play.
Gone were the glory days of Davis football it seemed.
Gone was even somewhat competitive football, as the Darts lost those eight games by a combined score of 178 points.
“Last year I came in in the middle of June, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trust, especially with the senior class,” Arquette said. “We didn’t know one another. Last year was rough that way.”
Fortunately for both Arquette and his football team, things are significantly different heading into the 2018 season.
“This offseason the boys have really bought into what we are trying to do,” said Arquette. “We have a really good group of seniors who love and trust one another and work hard. We’ve got a big senior class and they are excited to all get on the field and work together. This is the culmination of x-number of years of playing football for some of them.
They trust the system now. They know their role and responsibilities. They know it can’t always be a coach that has to get after a teammate. They encourage and hold one another responsible for their actions. They know where they fit in, whereas last year that wasn’t the case.”
Comfort in Arquette’s system has the Darts believing they can return to their winning ways this season.
“I think we are chasing Weber and Syracuse (in Region 1), but we have our feet under ourselves and know what we are doing. Hopefully it’ll be better, we’ll be more competitive with everything.”
The Darts will rely on their senior group, four starters on either side of the ball, to lead the way in what should be a new era of Davis football.
Not just in terms of winning, but in the makeup of the football team.
With the construction of a new high school in Farmington, Davis, normally chock full of talented kids, has considerably less depth than in years past.
It’s been an adjustment to say the least, but one Arquette believes the Darts will manage.
“The biggest challenge has been learning how to practice, because we haven’t had the same number of bodies, the same depth,” said Arquette. “We’ve had to slow things down and really teach. One thing we have stressed is quality over quantity. We don’t need to do five reps if we can get it done in two.
With the new high school opening, we’ve lost a lot of guys. We are just trying to stay healthy right now and I think we will have more guys playing both ways than we have had in the past.”
For Arquette, all success, depth or not, goes back to trust, something they didn’t have last year.
“Trust the process, respect the process,” Arquette said. “You hear it from Bill Belichick, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban. Trust the process and believe in what we are doing. Once these kids started to see the results in the weight room and classroom, and the success they had in the spring at 7 on 7 camp it has reached that point. They trust us.”
Davis Darts at a glance
Coach: Mitch Arquette is entering his second year as head coach of the Darts. He spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Davis, from 2012-2015. Two seasons ago he moved to Floresville, Texas, where he served as an assistant coach, only to return to his alma mater last year. He is a graduate of Davis High and the University of Utah.
Davis Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Clay Bayard
2018 offensive production: 9.1 ppg (22nd in 6A)
- 4 returning starters
- Multiple schemes
Key offensive returning starters
- Jack Rigby (TE): Hauled in 13 passes in 2017, for 142 yards. He averaged 10.92 yards per reception, trailing just Trey Baggett’s mark (11.67) among returners.
- Trace Dunn (OL): Is one of two returning starters along the offensive line for the Darts, played almost every snap for Davis last year.
Returning offensive starters
- Trace Dunn (OL)
- Cambridge Bingham (OL)
- Jack Rigby (TE)
- Trey Baggett (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
- Ethan Earnshaw (OL)
- Parker Last (OL)
- Jake Asplund (OL)
- Alex Remington (OL)
- Gage Morgan (OL)
- Garrett Larson (QB)
- Tate Gardner (WR)
- David Spjut (WR)
- Peyten Wyne (WR)
- Spencer Ferguson (RB)
- Carston Christensen (RB)
Arquette’s comments on quarterback Garrett Larson:
“Garrett Larson will be our quarterback. He was our quarterback going into the fall camp last year, but he got injured early and wasn’t able to play. Stepping out,not being able to play has helped him learn the game. He and our offensive coordinator Clay Bayard have put in a lot of time, just getting to know and trust one another.
Garrett is very intelligent. He understands where the ball needs to go and when it needs to get there. I think he gets the ball out rather quickly, and he is fairly mobile. He is not a spread offense guy, but he can definitely sit in the pocket and pass the ball.”
Arquette’s comments on improvement along the offensive line:
“We’ve got two starters back on the offensive line (Trace Dunn and Cambridge Bingham). One kid that was injured early last year, Ethan Earnshaw is back. Trace was a starter that comes back, he played just about every snap last year. Then we’ve got Parker Last, Jake Asplund, Cambridge Bingham, Alex Remington. Very senior-heavy group. We have a few younger guys in the mix that we are looking for, like Gage Morgan. We’ve got guys that have played football for a while, even if they haven’t played varsity in the past. They know what they are doing.
Last year we asked for a lot of technical things from them and mistakes happened. Now that they’ve worked with us all offseason they know more and are comfortable. Last year, it was mistakes with assignments, now it is little technique things like where is your hat-helmet placement or where is your first step. That sort of thing.”
Arquette’s comments on the running back situation:
“We don’t really have a running back. They all bring a different style. Spencer Ferguson, Carston Christensen and Max Tupuola all are really good runners. They all can make guys mix. As the offensive line coach I want our protections and schemes to be perfect, but I think our back can make up for our errors and make us look a little bit better than we actually are.”
Arquette’s comments on the wide receivers/tight ends:
“I really like our skill guys. Jack Rigby is our tight end. We really like him a lot. He is a big kid, a big target. On the edge we’ve got Trey Baggett, Tate Gardner, David Spjut, Payten Wyne and Landon Burningham. I think we are pretty deep at the skill position with receivers.”
Keys for Offensive Success in 2018:
The Darts are settled at almost every position on offense, with Garrett Larson at quarterback, an offensive line chock full of seniors, multiple wide receivers and platoon of talented running backs. Everything points to a bounce back year offensively, especially considering the unfortunate state of last year’s offense. Health is probably the major concern. The Darts lost a great deal of depth when Farmington High School opened, and behind their starters there is a real lack of experience.
Davis Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Bo Roundy
2018 defensive production: 24.3 ppg (12th in 6A)
- 4 returning starters
- 4-3/4-2-5 defense
Key defensive returning starters
- Max Tupuola (LB): Recorded the second-most tackles of any Dart last season, with 52, tied with Mason Frodsham and trailing only Zach Hoskins. Tupuola also recorded four sacks, again second-most on the team, this time behind Jordan Strate.
- Landon Burningham (DB): Totaled 30 tackles in 2017. His best outing came against the Woods Cross Wildcats, against whom he registered six tackles. All told, Burningham had four games where he recorded five or more tackles.
Returning defensive starters
- Max Tupuola (LB)
- Landon Burningham (DB)
- Elijah Arkoudas (DB)
- KO Fisher (DL)
Defense newcomers to watch
- Trey Baggett (DB)
- Tate Gardner (DB)
- Spencer Ferguson DB)
- Alex Foster (DB)
- Chase Potter (DB)
- Boston Greene (LB)
- Jake Fox (DL)
- Preston Honey (DL)
Arquette’s comments on new defensive coordinator Bo Roundy and his 4-2-5 scheme:
“We’ve got a new defensive coordinator this year, Bo Roundy. He likes to do kind of a hybrid 4-2-5, 4-3 deal. We will drop a safety into the box, have him essentially become an extra linebacker. Coach Roundy is comfortable with that system and knows how to put kids in the best position in it.”
Arquette’s comments on the Darts secondary:
“Landon Burningham is our free safety. He is the quarterback of our defense and he is awesome. Elijah Arkoudas is coming back as a corner, and we’ll have Trey Baggett and Tate Gardner there too. Spencer Ferguson, Alex Foster, Chase Potter will all be safeties. We’ve got some good depth there.”
Arquette’s comments on the linebackers:
“Our starting linebackers are Boston Greene and Max Tupuola. Boston is kind of like our brain and Max is our brawn, though Max is a smart player too. It helps to have those heady players in the backfield. Max just has a real natural knack for the ball and knows where it is going.”
Arquette’s comments on the defensive line:
“I think we will have more guys playing both ways (on both lines) than we have had in the past. It’s understandable with our lower numbers. We have a great D-line coach, and the boys work hard. Jake Fox is putting in a lot of work. Preston Honey hurt his knee last year, and he’s trying to come back. Trace Dunn is there, Jack Rigby will play some defensive end. We have guys there. We just have to stay healthy.”
Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:
It’s all about the defensive line this year for the Darts. Davis has experienced talent at linebacker and solid depth and talent in the secondary, a key considering the team will often play with five defensive backs. The defensive front is the question mark, both from an experience point of few, as well as depth. If the Darts can remain healthy, a theme for the upcoming season, things should work out well defensively.
Coaches preseason Region 1 straw poll: Second
Deseret News Region 1 prediction: First
Key Region Game: at Syracuse, Oct. 12 (Week 8)
This is not the Davis team that finished 1-8 overall, 1-5 in region. Not even close. These Darts are much more comfortable with what Arquette and his coaching staff are trying to do, much more experienced and greatly motivated. Offensively the team looks much improved, and there shouldn’t be much of a drop, if any, on the defensive side of the ball.
If the Darts remain healthy, a question mark for a team unused to the lack of depth it’ll have this season, the sky's the limit. If healthy, Davis should contend for the region title, not to mention a playoff spot. If the injury bug hits, however, a lack of depth would likely lead to another disappointing season, if not as rough as 2017.
- Aug. 17 — BOUNTIFUL, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 — at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 31 — LAYTON, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 7 — at Clearfield, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — FREMONT, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 —WEBER, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — at Northridge, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 17 — at American Fork, 7 p.m.
Felts Facts for Davis
All-time record: 583-369-29 (102 years)
Region championships: 31 (1929, 1937, 1942, 1943, 1949, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1969 co, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979 co, 1980, 1981 co, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988 co, 1989 co, 1990 co, 1991 co, 1994 co, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016 co)
Playoff appearances: 49
Current playoff appearance streak: 0
All-time playoff record: 60-42
State championships: 7 (1937, 1943, 1949, 1965, 1974, 1976, 2004)
State championship record: 6-10
Most played rivalry: 51 meetings with Clearfield dating back to 1961. Davis leads 27-23-1.
Felt’s Factoids: Davis has 582 victories, the most in state history, as the Darts celebrated 100 years of football in 2015. Only seven other schools have played more seasons. … Davis holds the mark for making the most improvement (record-wise) and taking state. The Darts improved from 2-8 in 2003 to 11-2 in 2004 and won the 5A title. They defeated Cottonwood 50-43, in OT, in the highest-scoring final in state history. … Dart Ryan Smoot returned a punt for 90 yards in 2004 to set a championship-game record
- 2017 — 1-8 (1-5 in Region 1 – Missed playoffs)
- 2016 — 7-4 (4-2 in Region 2 – 5A First round)
- 2015 — 9-1 (6-0 in Region 2 – 5A First round)
- 2014 — 7-3 (5-1 in Region 1 – 5A First round)
- 2013 — 9-1 (6-0 in Region 1 – 5A First round)
Davis coaching historyComment on this story
- 2017-current — Mitch Arquette (1-8)
- 2014-2016 — Tyler Gladwell (23-6)
- 2001-2013 — Ryan Bishop (80-53-1)
- 1984-2000 — Jim Dickson (108-77)
- 1979-83 — Ward Sawley (43-12)
- 1969-78 — Jay Cullimore (74-36-1)
- 1959-68 — Gerald Purdy (67-33-4)
- 1947-58 — Lee Liston (64-36-6)
- 1941-46 — Howard "Tuff" Linford (34-17-7)
- 1937-40 — "Deb" Young (21-10-2)
- 1934-36 — Floyd Millet (12-6)
- 1931-33 — Ray Forsburg (11-8-1)
- 1926-30 — Jack Croft (18-15-2)
- 1923-25 — James Anderson (2-19)
- 1921-22 — Floyd Anderson (5-8-1)
- 1920 — Wilf Romney (6-2)
- 1919 — Homer Warner (1-6)
- 1915-1917 — Lorin Briggs (6-10)
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
- 2009 — Tanner Hinds, RB
Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years
- 2016 — Jake Hadley, OLB
- 2015 — Connor Taylor, LB
- 2014 — Ty Hinds, DB
- 2012 — Chance Parker, DB
- 2012 — Jackson Peacock, LB
- 2011 — Troy Hinds, DL
- 2008 — Tanner Hinds, RB
- 2008 — James Cowser, DL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.