Getting a quick jump on top to start the playoffs can mean the difference in continuing your season and going home early, and the Clarendon Broncos provided a perfect example of that Thursday night at Dick Bivins Stadium.
More specifically, Jmaury Davis provided the example of that.
In a Class 2A Division II bidistrict matchup with Gruver, Clarendon started fast and stayed that way specifically because of Davis. The senior running back, who has committed to Texas Tech, showed why he’s been so hyped, running for four touchdowns of at least 47 yards, as the Broncos rolled to a 47-20 victory to advance to next week’s area round against Ralls at 7 p.m. Friday in Tulia.
With the two teams so evenly matched, it was Davis who was literally the biggest difference in the game. He ran for 275 yards on only 15 carries, showing an ability make observers hold their breath every time he touched the ball.
“That’s always kind of our plan,” said Clarendon coach Clint Conkin of establishing Davis. “If we can get him going early in the game, our other kid’s kind of feed off of that. Jmaury does a great job. He runs the ball hard every time and he was good tonight so we’re going to keep handing it to him.”
Both teams showed the ability to run the ball, but it was the speed of Davis which Gruver simply couldn’t match, and that was proven early. On the second play from scrimmage, Davis dashed 48 yards for a touchdown to give Clarendon a 6-0 lead.
While there was still a lot of football to be played, it was a big statement.
“It was a long run so it got everybody energized,” Davis said. “Everybody wanted to capitalize on it. We didn’t make the two-point conversion but we got lout front. We let them know what they were dealing with.”
Davis also scored on a 59-yard run early in the second quarter, which gave Clarendon (8-3) a 20-6 halftime lead.
The two teams completed only two passes each in the first half, but one of them went for a touchdown. Clarendon’s Harrison Howard hit Lyric Smith on a 15-yard scoring pass to give Clarendon a 12-0 lead late in the first quarter, the first of two scoring passes where the two connected.
Gruver (7-4) took advantage of tremendous field position after Clarendon tried a pass out of punt formation and a long throw by Davis fell incomplete. The Greyhounds took over at Clarendon’s 31-yard line and cashed in on a 1-yard run by Pratt McLain to cut it to 12-6 early in the second quarter.
However, two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Davis scored on his 59-yard run, boosting Clarendon’s lead to 20-6, the way it stayed through halftime. That showed the big play ability which Gruver didn’t quite possess.
“(Davis) and Lyric Smith I’ve been pretty impressed with,” Gruver coach Lee Brandon said. “Jmaury’s just Jmaury. They’ve got a lot of great guys around them. You focus on (Davis) and you’ve got another kid who can beat you. Once he gets going, we don’t really have anybody with that kind of speed who can track him down.”
In a span of just over 3 ½ minutes late in the third quarter, Davis displayed that speed as the Broncos put away the Greyhounds. Davis scored on a 47-yard run and ended his night with a 58-yard score to make it 34-6 and end any illusions of a Gruver comeback.
“When I get the rock I just look straight ahead and try to if there’s a hole and I run full speed to it,” Davis said. “That’s what happened tonight.”
Gruver played respectably and showed enough on offense to keep the game from being too big of a blowout. Senior Ridge Holland led the Greyhounds with 110 yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Mason Gibson also threw for a touchdown and ran for another in the fourth quarter.
Otherwise, it was all Clarendon. After being blown out by Panhandle in the season opener, the Broncos have found an identity and it’s gotten them past the first round of the playoffs.
“Of course, I’ll watch film and I’m always picky,” Conkin said. “I think there’s some things we probably could have done better on both sides of the ball we’ve got to clean up to make a run in this deal, but overall, I’m pretty pleased with our effort.”