It wasn’t the kind of sendoff that Davidson football coach Paul Nichols wanted to give the team’s eight seniors in their final home game.
“They’ve endured a lot with a coaching change and everything that goes with that, and they’ve invested a lot in this program,” Nichols said after the Wildcats (1-9, 0-6) lost a 56-0 Pioneer Football League game to first-place Jacksonville on Saturday at Richardson Field.
“We’ve got two more games left and two more chances to give them the last experience they deserve.”
This one was pretty forgettable almost from the start, as the Dolphins (8-2, 6-1) took advantage of six Davidson turnovers to roll to a 42-0 halftime lead and register the first shutout of the Wildcats at home since 2009.
“We made some poor decisions on the field, and we (coaches) just need to prepare them better to take care of the football,” Nichols said. “You can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did against anyone and expect to win.”
And the Dolphins’ high-powered offense, which rolled up 703 yards, seized every opportunity. Quarterback Kade Bell completed 20-of-24 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns in just under three quarters of play.
Jacksonville scored on its first three possessions. The Dolphins took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 59 seconds. Dorian Guy caught a four-yard touchdown pass from Bell for the score.
Jordan Dewhurst intercepted a pass from Davidson quarterback Taylor Mitchell – the first of five in the game thrown by the Wildcat freshman – at midfield to set up the next score. Frantz Caudio ran it in from 19 yards out for a 14-0 lead five minutes into the game.
The Wildcats’ turnover woes turned the game into a rout in the second quarter, Bell threw touchdown passes of 76 yards to D’Andre Randle, 19 yards to Caudio and 50-yards to Andy Jones.
The last one was set up by an interception, and two other picks also stopped a pair of promising drives by the Wildcats inside the JU 30. The Wildcats had one last chance to avoid their first shutout loss since the 2011 season, but ran out of downs at the Jacksonville 14 with three minutes left.
NOTES: The Wildcats close out their season with a pair of road games, at Marist on Saturday and at Valparaiso on Nov. 22. … Junior wide receiver William Morris had 82 yards on 9 receptions to move into second place on the career yardage list for the Wildcats. He needs 531 yards to pass Lanny Funsten (2009-2012) for the all-time record.