CHURUBUSCO – Laban Davis wasn't ready for the snap.
With Davis's Eastside Blazers nursing a touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter of their clash with NECC Small Division foe Churubusco on Friday at the Eagles' home digs, the quarterback was surprised by a quick shotgun snap with his team near midfield.
Instead of panicking, the do-everything Davis made one man miss with a stutter step in the backfield, cut to the right and found a lane to daylight, where he raced 48 yards for a touchdown and a commanding two-score lead with less than six minutes left.
“I caught (the ball) and I saw everyone was confused, I was confused,” Davis said. “I just thought, I was like, 'Screw it, I'm just gonna run.' Luckily it was an open run and we scored.”
Davis's touchdown run, his third of the game, gave the Class 2A No. 6 Blazers a 14-point lead and they held on to win 20-13 despite a late push from the Eagles. Eastside (1-0, 4-0) remained undefeated and earned a huge early victory over one of the biggest threats to the Blazers' hopes for a third straight conference title.
Grabbing that win on the road made it even sweeter.
“It's always a different atmosphere coming in here,” said tight end and linebacker Kyler Bibbee, who had two sacks. “They're blowing the diesel smoke in your face, ... but we saw it as motivation when we came out here to play this game. We wanted it to hype us up and it did the trick for us.”
Davis led his team down the field on Eastside's first possession and powered in up the middle from 2 yards out to put the Blazers up 7-0.
The teams played to a stalemate for the rest of the first half, but on the first drive of the third quarter, the senior quarterback scrambled and found Dax Holman in the flat for a 30-yard gain that set up a 4-yard Davis run for a 13-0 advantage.
Holman had 101 total yards, 54 rushing and 47 receiving.
But Busco (0-1, 2-2) clawed back into the game, getting the big play it needed when Nick Nondorf got to the edge on a run off tackle, bounced off a big hit along the sideline and sprinted 88 yards for a touchdown.
That got the Eagles crowd back in the game, but Davis' 48-yard scamper quieted the frenzy.
“Laban's been my best friend since I don't even know when, since kindergarten,” Bibbee said. “I know that kid, he's got the heart to play football. Having him on our team is really something special.”
The Blazers passed their toughest test to date, but coach Todd Mason had a message for his team after the game:
“We have so much more in us.”