Tumwater High School outside linebacker Trevor Davis is a heat-seeking missile in cleats — a blur with punch that can excel in any defensive package.
Rush the passer? Absolutely. Provide pass coverage? Can do. Stop the run? Done.
“He’s a safety in the body of a linebacker,” fellow junior Addison Barrett said about his 6-foot-2, 200-pound teammate. “There’s not much he can’t do out there.”
While Davis is the flash — flying around with controlled chaos — Barrett, a 5-11, 180-pound middle linebacker, is the defensive unit’s foundation; a sure tackler with a knack for shedding blockers and finding the football.
“He’s just a never-give-up type of guy,” Davis said. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s always going hard, no matter what. That type of play motivates everyone on the defense.”
It is Barrett’s ability to lock down everything between the tackles that allows everyone else to cause havoc.
Looking for a couple of reasons why the top-ranked Thunderbirds are undefeated and squaring off against Prosser on Saturday in the Class 2A state semifinals?
Turn to the two linebackers.
If Tumwater’s defense is a spear, Davis and Barrett help form the tip. They lead the charge, devastating hit by devastating hit.
Teammates and close friends since second grade, Davis and Barrett were at the Tacoma Dome to watch Tumwater thump Archbishop Murphy in the state championship game three years ago.
Eighth-graders at the time, each proudly wore a T-Birds youth football jersey as Tumwater went on to win its fifth state crown.
“We talked about playing for Tumwater a long time before that,” said Barrett, who along with Davis was a first-team all-2A Evergreen Conference selection this season. “But I remember being at that game, and all we could talk about was being T-Birds and winning a state championship. It’s all we could think of after that game. We just wanted to be part of this program.”
Two more wins, and junior high dreams will become a reality.
Up first is Prosser (9-3) — the team Tumwater beat in the 2012 state semifinals. This year’s semifinal game is at 3 p.m. Saturday at Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium in Pasco.
Last year, the T-Birds went on the road and overcame a one-point, third-quarter deficit to win, 35-21, and advance to the state title game.
“We learned a lot from that game last year,” said Davis, who has 63 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions this season. “It showed us we did have the character to fight back.”
While Davis started against the Mustangs last year — the only sophomore to do so — Barrett was primarily a special-teams player. One of his goals last year was to stay warm while watching from the sideline on a chilly late-November night in Kennewick.
This year against the Mustangs, who have won five consecutive games, Barrett will be asked to do considerably more as he paces Tumwater with a gaudy 130 tackles.
The T-Birds opened the season with back-to-back shutouts against Shelton (41-0) and Narrows League 3A champion Timberline (44-0). They haven’t slowed down since.
“Those first two games set the tone for the defense,” Barrett said. “Timberline is such a good team. I think it was after that game we realized we could do something really special this year.”
Defensively, the T-Birds have registered 41 sacks and forced 30 turnovers. Incredible numbers, no doubt, but there is one statistic that outshines all the others, and that’s defensive touchdowns. Tumwater has scored a school-record 11 this year.
The first-string defense has scored just three fewer touchdowns this year than it has given up.
“I just think it’s the mentality here,” Barrett said about the team’s ability to score on defense. “We’re focused on it.”
While most defenses strive to simply stop the opposing offense and force a punt, the T-Birds take it a step further.
Davis says the defense’s top goal is to get the ball.
“We don’t want our offense to ever get on the field,” Davis said. “If we can cause a fumble and put our offense in good field position, that’s great, but (the defense) wants to score. Every time. Anytime a defense can do that, it puts all the momentum on your side.”
A win against Prosser, and the T-Birds will join the 1989 and 1990 squads — both of which won state championships — as the only teams in school history to reach 13-0.
“You set goals before the season and constantly work on achieving them,” Barrett said. “Getting to this point was obviously one of the goals. We just want to keep it going.”