Parker Last of Davis 01

Parker Last of Davis poses for a portrait on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at the Standard-Examiner Ogden.

KAYSVILLE — Everyone saw what happened when Davis High had a full offseason with its coaching staff and players working together.

The Darts had the best turnaround of any team in the area, going from 1-8 in 2017 to 7-4 in 2018. They beat Hunter on the road and won their first playoff game since 2012.

The challenge now, as always, is what’s next. First things first, there were a ton of seniors on last season’s team and thus there will be many new faces in critical roles in 2019.

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“We’ve seen what it takes to be successful with last year’s team. Hopefully they’ll buy into what we ask them to do. There’s going to be a lot of growing pains but it is what it is,” head coach Mitch Arquette said.

There are 24 starting positions: 11 on offense, 11 on defense, the kicker and the punter. The latter two are usually done by one person.

Of those 24, Davis has five returning starters.

“Obviously there’s going to be a ton of inexperience, there’s going to be missed plays," senior offensive lineman Parker Last said. "So if someone misses a play and they’re not used to it, they’ll have their heads down. So it’s up to the returning guys to make sure that they keep on playing, finish the game, finish their assignments.”

Last is the only returning offensive lineman, so the starting five up front will have some catching up to do; however, starting running back Carston Christensen (817 rushing yards, three touchdowns in 2018) returns.

Whoever the starting quarterback will be will have two returning targets in senior Peter Stevenson (155 receiving yards) and junior David Spjut (190 receiving yards).

Arquette says the quarterback battle is mainly between junior Chance Trujillo and sophomore Caleb Christensen.

Spjut might be the most dangerous playmaker the Darts have returning this year. Last year as a sophomore, Spjut had 713 total yards, 478 of which came from kick and punt returns.

“He’s unstoppable. We sometimes get the best of him, but it’s a fun little thing in practice. The (defensive backs) and him, we go at it,” junior safety Spencer Ferguson said.

So maybe Davis is behind the eight ball this season, which is a spot the Darts aren’t normally in.

There’s one thing Spjut says is a bonafide strength of team despite its relative inexperience. That’s heart and toughness.

“I feel like a lot of games come down to that. I feel like if you’re tougher, meaner, you just give it the whole game and ... you make a bad play, brush it off and do better the next play,” Spjut said. “There’d be games like the Layton game, we went down two touchdowns right off the bat, we could’ve just laid down, but I feel like all the games we just stuck them out and that’s what won us a lot of games (last year).”

WHAT’S NEW

The Darts’ second-week matchup with Viewmont will be on television. Davis didn’t have a game on television last year or the year before.

Arquette is the school’s new athletic director. Former BYU and New Orleans Saints player Colby Bockwoldt is the new defensive coordinator, coming over from Ogden High.

WORTH NOTING

WEIRD SCHEDULE: Davis opens at home for the first four games, then has four of the next five games on the road. One can argue the four road games will be their toughest tests: Layton, Roy, defending region champion Weber, and Fremont.

TURN THIS CAR AROUND: The 7-4 campaign in 2018, following a 1-8 record in 2017, was the best turnaround in Davis history since 2004 when the Darts went 11-2 following a 2-8 mark in 2003.

DAVIS FACTS

2018 SEASON: 7-4, 4-2 in Region 1, beat Hunter in the first round of the playoffs and lost to Lone Peak in the second round.

2019 OPPOSITION RECORD: 45-47 (.489), including a first-ever meeting with Herriman.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: David Spjut (WR/KR), Peter Stevenson (WR), Spencer Ferguson (S/RB), Carston Christensen (RB), Brigham Harmon (LB), James Parker Jr. (DL)

STRENGTHS: Talent and experience at the skill positions. 

WEAKNESSES: Inexperience.

RETURNING STARTERS: Five (3 offense/2 defense)

BASE OFFENSE/DEFENSE: Spread/4-3

BY THE NUMBERS

10-3: Davis’ all-time record against Roy.

19: Davis and Viewmont will meet for the 19th-straight season in 2019.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 16: Herriman, 7 p.m.

Aug. 22: Viewmont, 7 p.m. (KJZZ)

Aug. 30: Northridge*, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6: Clearfield*, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13: at Layton*, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20: at Roy*, 7 p.m. (KMYU)

Sept. 27: Syracuse*, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4: at Weber*, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11: at Fremont*, 7 p.m.

*Region 1 game

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr via email at pcarr@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter @patrickcarr_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/patrickcarr17/.

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