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Prep football: Bessinger-to-Gates connections fuels Davis over Weber, 45-26

By Bob Judson - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Sep 15, 2023

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Davis receiver Kash Gates battles a Weber tackler on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

KAYSVILLE — There was a time when things got a little uncomfortable for Davis High football against Weber on Friday night, but it didn’t last long.

Weber had closed a 21-point, second-quarter deficit to seven early in the third period, but the Darts went back to what got them the big lead in the first place.

“Everything has to go forward in your mind. You gotta think positive in those moments. Know the team has your back,” Davis sophomore quarterback Tradon Bessinger said. “We got together; mentally we work on this in practice all the time. Coaches teach us. It’s unreal how we can do that.”

Bessinger threw a pair of touchdown passes to senior receiver Kash Gates in the third quarter — after the dynamic Davis duo collaborated for two touchdowns in the first half — and the Darts were rolling again.

“(Weber) had energy for sure, but we fell back on our brotherhood and practice,” Gates said. “We’ve been going since January. Things don’t go perfectly the whole game.”

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber High quarterback Crew Cacciacarne (1) rolls out as Davis lineman Carter Knight (28) pursues on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

With things back in focus, Davis outdueled Weber in an aerial circus showcase and out-paced the Warriors 45-26 in a wild Region 1 opener for both teams.

The Warriors (2-4, 0-1 Region 1) had scored in the final seconds of the second quarter and opened with the ball to start the third quarter.

It only took two plays before Weber quarterback Crew Cacciacarne threw a strike to Ian Elmore, who did the rest on an 85-yard touchdown at the 11:03 mark of the third quarter, making it 21-14 for Davis.

But it took just a minute and a half before Bessinger found Gates in the Weber secondary and, 59 yards later, the Darts led 28-14.

“It was supposed to be a 10-yard hitch, but Tradon was extending the play and I saw the corner coming down on me and broke around him,” Gates said. “Tradon put it in the right spot. I caught it and juked one guy and raced to the end zone.”

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Davis quarterback Tradon Bessinger (13) throws as he's hit by Weber's Caden Lindholm (10) on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

Finn Garff added a 25-yard field goal midway through the third period for the Darts, then Bessinger threw his fourth touchdown pass to Gates, a contested 14-yarder, and Davis was comfortably ahead 38-14 with 1:13 left in the quarter.

“Coach called amazing plays and Kash was open on them, so we threw it to him,” Bessinger said. “Just making my reads and when he opens up, I get him the ball.”

Bessinger let someone else in on the glory when he lobbed a 19-yard scoring pass to Bode Sparrow with 5:02 remaining in the game, widening the gap to 45-20. Along with Gates, Sparrow gave Davis two receivers with triple-digit yardage, garnering eight balls for 113 yards.

In all, Bessinger completed 26 of 37 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns for Davis.

“It’s that chemistry, I guess. When I roll out, (the receivers) change their routes and we just ball after that,” Bessinger said. “They adjust to what we want to do. The thing that was working for us was those quick passes and when they finally pressed up on us, we let it fly.”

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber High's Dyson Parker (11) runs the football as Davis safety Kash Gates (8) pursues on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

Gates had 11 receptions for 156 yards and the four touchdowns, his first full region game since tearing his ACL last year against Layton four games into the season.

“I can go up there and get it, with a lot of concentration and repetition from our practices,” Gates said. “When Tradon keeps the play alive, I keep moving and he’ll find me. Some of them were designed, and others I just broke free.”

For Weber, Cacciacarne sandwiched the Bessinger pass to Sparrow with two touchdown passes of his own in the fourth frame.

Cacciacarne hooked up with Salesi Moa for a 17-yard TD with 7:13 left in the fourth, then tallied a 27-yard scoring pass to Elmore on Weber’s next possession with 3:09 on the clock.

The Weber junior was 23 of 35 on the night for 283 yards and four touchdown passes. Elmore finished with eight catches for 160 yards and three TD grabs.

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber High's Josh Hamblin (12) runs the football against Davis on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

Following a slow start to the game by both offenses, things got cooking and Davis held 21-7 lead at the half.

Bessinger connected with Gates for a 3-yard touchdown pass and Davis led 7-0 with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

Sticking with what worked, the Darts (5-1, 1-0) went ahead 14-0 when Bessinger again found Gates for a TD toss, this time 17 yards, early in the second stanza.

As the Dart defense kept Weber bottled up, McCoy Frasure picked off a pass and Davis was in business again at the Warrior 39.

Owen Talbot closed the drive on a 10-yard run and the Darts led 21-zip midway through the period. He rushed 12 times overall for 95 yards.

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber High's Jonathan Hall (80) is upended by a Davis tackler on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

Weber then answered back with an epic 17-play, 80-yard, 5-minute and 28-second drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass from Cacciacarne to Elmore just before the half to close out the scoring and set the stage for a potentially dramatic second-half comeback that Davis was able to withstand.

Defense was lacking Friday night, but Frasure had two interceptions for Davis that led to 10 points with a short field, and the Darts also had a fumble recovery.

Linebacker Tyler Payne nabbed an interception for the Warriors.

Weber High's offense, left, and Davis High's defense, right, line up at the line of scrimmage on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, in Kaysville.

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