Davis steals show for Ridge Point in showdown win over Clements
MISSOURI CITY — Taylor Davis said he had hardly been tested through the season's first four games. The Ridge Point junior safety longed for a ball thrown his direction.
Saturday, Davis was tested, and with the way he responded it's unlikely an offense elects to challenge him again anytime soon.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder, in just his second year playing defensive back, picked off three passes, taking the second the other way for a 35-yard pick-6, and sparked Ridge Point to a 56-20 win over previously undefeated Clements at Hall Stadium.
The Panthers improved to 4-1 overall, 2-0 in District 20-6A, and muddied some of the momentum enjoyed by the Rangers (4-1, 1-1), who suffered their first loss but are enjoying their finest season since 2009.
"I was just waiting for the perfect opportunity," said Davis, who now leads the district in interceptions after entering the game with none. "My coach said before the game to do my job and I'll make big plays. That's what I did."
With Ridge Pint ahead 7-6 early in the second quarter, Clements senior quarterback Micah Darnell threw to what he thought was an open receiver to his right before Davis butted in and intercepted the throw. That set up the first of three touchdowns from senior receiver Marvin Session, who took in a 19-yard pass from senior quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. moments later to make it 14-6.
On the Rangers' first play from scrimmage on the next drive, Davis got the best of Darnell again, this time on an identical throw to the right side of the field, gobbling the errant toss from 35 yards out and sprinting the other way for a 21-6 lead.
FBL (V): Panther #Black (Defense) #Pick6 by @TaylorDavis_27 from 25 yards out! PAT by Bowen Good! #PantherRange21… https://t.co/1wILqj8vYg— Ridge Point HS (@Ridge Point HS) 1632613544.0
"He's playing within the scheme," Ridge Point coach Rick LaFavers said of Davis. "One of the touchdowns we gave up against C.E. King was him playing outside of the scheme, trying to do too much. When he sees things, reads it, and does what he's coached up to do, he's a really good player."
The Panthers took a 35-12 lead into halftime on two more touchdown passes from Emanuel of 19 and 1 yards, respectively, to Session.
In the second half, Davis collected his third interception with a tight grab of a Darnell dart at the Ridge Point sideline.
Afterward, Davis ran toward the crowd and basked in the thunderous cheers of the Panthers' student section.
"Personally, as a teammate, I want to get my teammates riled up," Davis said. "They do the same for me. If I need to make a play, I'm going to make a play."
Davis played receiver his freshman year before he was moved to the varsity defensive secondary as a sophomore. He had three interceptions last year, which tied for the district lead.
He matched that total in one glorious performance, showing off improved play in man coverage.
"Skills, footwork and my ability to move … I'm just so much more comfortable," Davis said.
LaFavers praised Davis' maturity and understanding of the schemes.
"He'll be playing on Saturdays somewhere," LaFavers said of Davis' potential at the next level. "He did a great job reading things, sitting in there and breaking on the ball. He's just a junior, so he'll only continue getting better."
Davis wasn't the only Panther with a hat trick in the stat books Saturday.
After scoring three touchdowns the previous week against Fort Bend Austin (two receiving, one punt return), Session scored three more, all receiving, against Clements.
.@MarvinSession with his second TD this quarter. A 19-yard haul on another fade lob from @BertEmanuel3. 28-6 Ridge… https://t.co/KVHq442IJe— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1632614314.0
"They did some good things defensively, but after a lot of study I saw they have some weaknesses," said Session, who had four catches for 83 yards. "They had a lot of tight hips. We picked that out on film and came out and executed."
Session has five receiving touchdowns this season.
>> NO DOUBT: In a battle of 20-6A's best offense (Ridge Point) versus its best defense (Clements), the Panthers left no doubt who is king. Ridge Point had 35 points and 304 total yards by halftime, and finished with 56 points and more than 500 yards. "We've got good players that were able to match their level and execute," LaFavers said. "We were able to make some plays in the air, got some things going and that opened some things on the ground." Emanuel played exceptionally, completing 12 of 18 passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns before being relieved late in the third quarter.
>> JOLLY OUT: Ridge Point junior running back Ezell Jolly missed a second straight game, though he was with the team and helped the running backs during pregame warmups. "He'll be good," LaFavers said. "We have an open week next week and we're just letting him get charged back up. He's fine. We can do that because we have two capable guys behind him." Jolly has 285 rushing yards and four touchdowns in three games this season. Senior Zericq Earls (136 yards on seven carries) and sophomore Mason Dossett (114 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries) had impressive games for the Panthers, who ran for 268 yards on 26 carries.
>> POWER RANGERS: Clements had touchdowns from seniors Avery Clark, Patrick Smith, and Marcus Darnell. Clark also had a tackle of Dossett in the Ridge Point end zone for a safety. Overall, the Rangers had a little more than 230 yards of total offense.
(To listen to VYPE Live's full audio broadcast of Ridge Point-Clements, click here: https://www.vype.com/vype-live-football-clements-vs-ridge-point?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2)