MENOMONEE FALLS — A 3rd-and-25 stared Menomonee Falls in the face in the second quarter of Friday night’s 2018 season opener. To make matters worse, head coach Dan Lutz’s squad was backed up to its own five-yard line.
Then, Julius Davis happened.
The senior running back took a handoff, found the edge, broke four tackles, and sprinted downfield behind his blockers for a 95-yard touchdown run to tie the game with under three minutes left in the first half.
That would not be the only highlight for the 2019 Wisconsin commit on the evening, as he tallied two more touchdowns on the ground with 334 yards on 33 carries in a 28–19 victory over Germantown.
“My linemen had great blocks when I was going,” Davis told B5Q after the game. “I saw a hole and I saw the outside was open, so I just kept running, just didn’t want to get tackled. I knew we had to tie it up, and I wanted to help the team out. So I made sure I could try to break those tackles, and once I was free, I could feel the guy behind me—it’s just a weird sense—so I could feel him behind me. I just high-stepped it, and my teammates came in and helped block when I was running downfield.”
Here is the run @JakeKocoB5Q mentioned of @BadgerFootball commit Julius Davis breaking 4 tackles. pic.twitter.com/KJrMUWlVgr— Delaney Brey (@DelaneyBrey) August 18, 2018
According to Lutz, however, that run was the best he has seen out of his senior running back.
“I just think the amount of hits that he took and the kid coming from behind, and he still would not be denied,” Lutz told reporters after the game. “Usually when you come from behind, you’re going to go down. I haven’t seen that from him before, but everyday I see something different.
“We had a fourth-down play where it was a busted play. He just made something up on his own and got a first down. That’s a senior being a senior.”
Davis tallied two more scores in the fourth quarter. With under 10 minutes remaining, he scored on an 11-yard run to put Menomonee Falls ahead during a stretch where it felt like the lead went back-and-forth between the two schools. Then he capped his impressive performance with his final touchdown, finding the end zone on a six-yard run with 1:22 remaining to seal the game.
Davis noted that in the huddle before his final carry, the team wanted to score to put the game out of reach.
“We just wanted to seal it out, make sure they have no chance of coming back, so I just used every ounce of energy I had to try and get that touchdown,” Davis said.
Davis’s Hudl film is already out, and that 95-yard touchdown run (47-second mark) serves as a microcosm of his abilities as a multifaceted running back. He can cut to the outside and combine that with his speed and a heavily physical demeanor.
Several times on Friday night, he delivered an “oomph” when would-be defenders attempted to bring him down. At this level, simple arm tackles or throwing a shoulder to halt his momentum will not work—as seen with the four broken tackles on that long second-quarter score.
Davis also showed more agility on Friday night, as seen in his 49-yard run at the 1:14 mark of the Hudl film, being able to elude a defender with a cut then take his speed and run north and south for big gains.
“Well, I’ve been working on trying to cut a little bit more, juke and stuff,” Davis said, “but when it comes down to it and I need the yards, I just lower my shoulder and run through them.
“That’s what I love about the game, you can legally hit somebody.”
Lutz believes his running back has improved his strength, noting that being a Division 1 commit has also helped Davis’s confidence.
“He’s gotten a lot stronger in the weight room,” Lutz said, “and we’ve been pushing him on his conditioning because we knew tonight was going to be like tonight. We were pushing him and pushing him, and it paid off for us big-time tonight.”
Davis carried the rock 33 times, and based on the official stats from WisSports.net, he accounted for 334 of Menomonee Falls’s 438 total yards. Lutz believes his conditioning will be something to continually work on.
“He goes so hard every play and he wants to come out for plays, and I get it, but he has to learn how to get through those periods when he’s feeling it,” Lutz said. “Tonight he did that. I mean that last drive, that last touchdown was pretty amazing what he did.”
Davis agreed with his head coach’s thoughts.
“I just need to keep working on my stamina because I know the coaches want to give me the ball a lot, so I got to be prepared enough to be able to run the ball that much and be able to take on defenders.”
Not his 95-yard TD or his other two scores, but this run shows @juliusdavis32’s ability to break tackles and get to the edge with some speed. #Badgers pic.twitter.com/An2n33RN9u— Jake Kocorowski (@JakeKocoB5Q) August 18, 2018
If Davis carries the ball with the frequency and success he did against Germantown, his personal goal of 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns for his senior campaign will be within reach.
As for his team goals, Davis wants to “be the best leader I can be.”
“We want to make it past round one [of the WIAA state playoffs] and hopefully get to Camp Randall and play [for the state championship].”
According to Lutz, Davis has “a will” this year. That will could propel the program and the Wisconsin commit to big things this season.
“He wants to be better than last year,” Lutz said. “He’s got some personal goals, and I couldn’t be happier for the kid. He’s a great kid.”