There’s something different about Arlington High football this year. The Colts, led by senior quarterback D’Montae Davis, have averaged 39 points a game during a 7-1 start.
It’s not unusual for Arlington to score a lot of points, finish with a winning record or earn a playoff berth. But playoff victories have eluded the Colts in recent years. Arlington hasn’t advanced to the area round since 2012.
This team and its dynamic quarterback are bent on breaking that streak. They’ll soon have the chance. Arlington is poised to open the playoffs in Keller against Fossil Ridge on Nov. 18.
Arlington has the skill players to make things turn out differently this time.
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“That’s the difference this year: I’ve always felt good about our offensive philosophy, about our kids having success. The exciting thing this year is we have some playmakers,” Arlington coach Scott Peach said.
“And not to say we haven’t in the past, but we’ve got some guys that, when the ball is in their hands, can break against good talent and go to the end zone. And that’s been fun to watch, having those kids that, when the ball is in their hands, special things happen.”
He is the first one to say, ‘It is about us. It’s a team sport. But if you need me to take the reins and everybody jump on my back, let’s go.’
Arlington head coach Scott Peach on quarterback D’Montae Davis
Special things happen when Davis has the ball. He’s thrown for 16 touchdowns, rushed for 12 and completed nearly 66 percent of his passes.
Senior running back Kenland McCray, who leads the team in rushing and has scored seven touchdowns combined rushing and receiving, relishes playing alongside Davis.
“I like him being in the backfield with me,” McCray said. “There’s a lot of speed in the backfield. And in junior high, it was the same thing. He was quarterback and I was the running back.”
Those backfield mates, plus a lot of skilled receivers, force defenses to make a choice between trying to stop the run or the pass. Peach praises Davis’s ability to quickly read the defense and react. For Davis, it’s simply a matter of knowing that a defense isn’t prepared to stop everything.
“They can take away one thing, but they can’t take away all,” Davis said.
Opponents aren’t taking away the ball from the Colts very often. Arlington was turnover-free in six of its first eight games. And those defenses couldn’t keep Arlington’s offense off the field, either. The Colts have converted 50 percent or more of their third downs in five games this season.
“We can run it and we can throw it,” Davis said. “We just go off the defense. If we can run it more, we’re going to run it more. If we can throw, we’re going to throw it more.”
But it’s not just X’s and O’s where Arlington’s offense excels. With Davis at the helm, Peach has a leader who instills confidence in his teammates and keeps teammates focused on the next play even when things aren’t going well.
“The confidence in D’Montae is because of the young man that he is,” Peach said. “He is the leader. He is the energy. He is the guy that our guys rally around. He is the first one to say, ‘It is about us. It’s a team sport. But if you need me to take the reins and everybody jump on my back, let’s go.’ Because he loves the game of football and he’s our guy.”
And that leader and his offense are focused on continuing to improve as that ultimate test — the playoffs — approaches. “We’ve still got some weaknesses we’re going to sharpen up,” Davis said. “We’re going to get better.”