Davis High football preview: Can Darts buy in, overcome lack of experience?

Friday , August 04, 2017 - 12:00 AM

RYAN COMER, Standard-Examiner Staff

KAYSVILLE — Davis High football coach Mitch Arquette had just finished his freshman season at the University of Utah in 2002 when Urban Meyer was named the school’s head football coach.

Utah went 5-6 in 2002, and Meyer wasn’t messing around in his attempt to turn the program around.

“It was go into the weight room, lock the door with chains and we’re going to stay here until everyone throws up kind of a thing,” Arquette recalled.

Kyle Whittingham was the defensive coordinator, and Arquette — an offensive lineman — remembers similar toughness from him.

2017 PREVIEWS: Read more football previews for Northern Utah schools

“I remember that spring ball Coach Whittingham basically said, ‘I’m not going to let you show me up,’ and his defense kicked our offense’s butt all spring football because we were learning a new system and Coach Whitt got after it,” Arquette said.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Utah went 10-2 in Meyer’s first season, including a 17-0 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl. The offense found its way after the tough spring and averaged 28.7 points per game, an improvement of more than six points per game from the previous year.

In Meyer’s second season in 2004, Utah went 12-0, including a 35-7 drubbing of Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. The Utes’ offense averaged 45.3 points per game, the third highest out of 120 Division-I football teams.

The success taught Arquette the valuable lesson of buying in.

“If you’re just going to test the water with your toe, it doesn’t matter,” Arquette said. “You’ve got to jump in and get after it.”

Arquette is now tasked with trying to get his own group of players to buy in. He was hired in May as Davis’ new head football coach, replacing Tyler Gladwell.

Davis High hires alum and former Ute, Mitch Arquette, as head football coach
Davis High football coach Tyler Gladwell steps down to take district position

So far, the results are encouraging.

“They’re excited to be coached up and we hold them to high expectations and want them to work very hard,” Arquette said. “We take discipline very seriously, and team unity and effort is a big emphasis. I think they’re responding well.”

Arquette is preparing for the season without a lot of returning starters.

He listed only five players with experience: senior wide receiver Jace Hinton, senior offensive lineman Matt Gardner, junior offensive lineman Trace Dunn, senior linebacker Zack Hoskins and junior linebacker Max Tupuola.

Hinton was the team’s leading receiver last year, catching 30 passes for 495 yards and seven touchdowns. Arquette said his work ethic is unparalleled.

“He’s the first one here, last one to leave. He pushes himself,” Arquette said. “I haven’t seen him be beat in a conditioning drill yet. He wants to be No. 1 all the time and that’s his focus.”

Hoskins was the team’s second-leading tackler last year with 104 tackles and is part of a position group Arquette said has stood out.

“I really like our front seven defensively,” Arquette said.

Senior Parker Sapp and junior Garrett Larson have battled for the quarterback job throughout the summer.

While encouraged by what he has seen, the coach hopes to see some players take on more leadership.

“There needs to be some more vocal leaders,” Arquette said. “I think we’ve got a lot of guys that lead by example, but there need to be a few more that lead by word and get their teammates’ energy and excitement up.

“I want our team to play with a quiet confidence but a little bit of an edge.”


DAVIS 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

(*Region 1 game)

Friday, Aug. 18: at Bountiful

Friday, Aug. 25: Viewmont

Friday, Sept. 1: at Layton*

Friday, Sept. 8: Clearfield*

Friday, Sept. 15: at Fremont*

Friday, Sept. 22: at Woods Cross

Friday, Sept. 29: at Weber*

Friday, Oct. 6: Northridge*

Friday, Oct. 13: Syracuse*


SATURDAY’S PREVIEW: NORTHRIDGE KNIGHTS

Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.

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