Warriors move closer to playoffs with big win

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 1, 2002

[11/01/02]ST. JOSEPH, La. On a cold, muddy Halloween night in Northeast Louisiana, the Davidson Warriors gave themselves quite a treat another winning season.

Davidson’s Travis Davis ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on only five carries, set up two other scores with long punt returns, and intercepted a pass to lead the Warriors (5-3, 1-2 District 4-1A) to a 32-0 win over Tallulah High (0-9, 0-4).

Ken Johnson also threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Davidson assured itself of a second straight winning season and remained in contention for a playoff berth.

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It’s only the fourth winning season for Davidson since 1983. Coach Noah Johnson, who has been associated with the school as a coach and principal for more than 20 years, couldn’t remember the last time the Warriors had back-to-back winning seasons.

“I’m glad for these kids, for them to see if they put the work into it they can be successful,” Noah Johnson said. “I have to go to the (school) board on Monday and tell them how the program is doing, and it’ll be good to tell them what we were able to do with it these last couple years.”

Davidson finished 5-4 in 2001, but that record included two forfeit wins. Ken Johnson said it felt better to earn all of this year’s victories on the field.

“It’s much better to actually come out here and win these games instead of them being given to us,” said Johnson, who was 6-for-11 for 72 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions against Tallulah.

While Davidson is the best its been in a long time, Tallulah is going through one of the worst stretches in recent memory.

The Trojans lost for the ninth straight time this season, were just 3-7 in 2001, and saw their head coach leave in the middle of the year. Despite all that, the team has 24 freshmen on the roster out of 35 players total and they have shown improvement, coach John Sampson said.

“It’s growing pains,” Sampson said.

And the pains were plentiful against Davidson.

Tallulah fumbled eight times, losing four, had five turnovers in all and amassed 95 yards in penalties. The Trojans managed only six first downs, and had 62 total yards 45 of them on a second-quarter pass from Corey Atkins to Brandon Campbell.

Some of the fumbles could be attributed to a sloppy field that was mostly mud between the 30-yard lines, but Sampson said the majority of the errors simply came from inexperience.

“It was just freshman mistakes. Penalties at the wrong times, fumbles at the wrong times. It’s signs of a young team,” Sampson said.

The victory kept Davidson alive for a playoff berth despite its having two district losses. In Louisiana, a power points system decides 23 of the 32 available playoff spots, and Davidson earned crucial points earlier this season by beating two Class 2A teams.

The Warriors still need to beat Delhi in next Friday’s season finale to guarantee a berth, but Noah Johnson liked his team’s chances.

“They’re sitting pretty good. They’re probably going to end up in the playoffs if we can win this next week,” he said. “We’re around No. 20 (in points). We’re not even down on the bottom of the list. Last year we were 32nd and missed the playoffs.”