It only took Clay Davis one play to know he was about to have a big night.
“After the first time I threw it, I was like, ‘Yep, it’s happening tonight,’” he said.
What ended up happening was the 6-foot-2-inch senior quarterback went 13 of 21 passing for 271 yards and four touchdowns in Athens’ (4-1, 2-0 Tri-Valley Conference) 42-13 blowout win over Vinton County (1-4, 0-2 TVC) at R. Basil Rutter Field on Friday night.
Davis — who had won the title of homecoming prince prior to the game — didn’t have to deal with pressure thanks to his offensive line. The extra time allowed him to sit in the pocket like royalty on a throne and find open receivers.
“I’m really proud of how our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage,” Athens coach Ryan Adams said. “We really came out of the gates hot tonight.”
Unlike last week, Athens’ offense could do whatever it wanted early, and what it wanted was Clay Davis slinging the football.
“I’m not one to call for the ball, but when I’m in a groove, they know what to call,” Davis said.
Davis’ first touchdown came midway through the first quarter when he found Nate Trainer uncovered for a 70-yard touchdown. Athens fans couldn’t finish celebrating before Davis hit Logan Maxfield for another score 16 seconds later after the Bulldogs recovered a Vinton County fumble.
Davis finished his first quarter hat trick on the next drive when he hit Trainer in the back of the end zone. Davis’ window was so tight, the pass forced Trainer to do his best ballerina impersonation, tip toeing in bounds for his second touchdown of the night.
Vinton County quickly found itself down 28-0 and had no answers for Davis’ cannon. The Vikings kept one high safety for most of the game making it nearly impossible to cover the deep ball, which was Davis’ best weapon.
The Vikings finally scored with seven minutes to go in the half, but a minute later Davis found sophomore Joey Moore for his fourth and final touchdown of the night.
Athens would enter the locker room ahead 35-7.
In his best throwing game of the year, Davis picked up yards on the ground too, rushing five times for 13 yards and most importantly committing no turnovers.
Adams cooled off Davis in the third quarter only allowing him two more attempts before finally resting him in the fourth quarter.
The win gets the Bulldogs one step closer to the postseason, but with the first week of playoff projections coming out, the room for error is even smaller than Athens may have imagined.
According to Joe Eitel, if Athens were to win every remaining game, a 9-1 record and its first TVC championship in four years would only give the Bulldogs a 57 percent chance of making the playoffs. One more loss would more than likely kill all hopes of making the postseason.
Athens will travel next week to face Logan. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.