WALLA WALLA - If there was ever a high school football matchup that looked like a mismatch on paper, Friday night's Big Nine Conference 4A contest between Wa-Hi and Davis - scheduled for 7:30 at Borleske Stadium - appears to be just that.
The Blue Devils are 0-2 in league and 0-4 overall. The Pirates are 2-0 and 4-0, and coming off a 34-27 victory over Richland.
Davis possesses the league's best offense while Wa-Hi stands at the bottom of the Big Nine ladder in team defense and points allowed.
As far as the Blue Devils are concerned, much soul searching took place on the Walla Walla High School campus this week, according to coach Eric Hisaw.
"The coaches are trying to do what they can to help the kids and the kids are trying to do what they need to do to trust in each other," Hisaw said. "We watched film (on Monday) and the kids handled the session well. The kids understood what we were talking about: We need to play with more confidence."
In last week's 56-24 loss to Chiawana, Wa-Hi had 317 yards of offense. Hisaw said his team did more to stop itself than the Riverhawks.
"I don't think there was one drive stopped by Chiawana," Hisaw said. "We'd have a penalty, a blown assignment. We're not consistent."
One player in the Blue Devils' arsenal that has been consistent is running back Jonah Hoe. He currently ranks second in the league with 556 yards rushing and has 708 all-purpose yards, good for third overall.
"Jonah is electric," Hisaw said. "He has tremendous vision and can make the play that no one else sees. He's a treat. He's become much more physical.
"He's playing with a lot of passion and drive right now," Hisaw said. "He's trusting the people ahead of him to get their jobs done."
A pair of linemen that Hoe has put his trust in are junior strong tackle Quinn Piver and senior quick guard Simon Quackenbush.
"Everybody's working harder," Piver said. "The coaches are firing up everybody on the team. It (Friday's game) is going to be tough, but I still think we'll be able to (win) it."
"We've had a lot of smash-mouth practicing this week," Quackenbush said. "The key is to not shoot ourselves in the foot and end our own drives. Mentally, when the moment comes (to succeed), we have to grab it by the throat and take it."
If thee is one thing Hisaw is looking for from his team defensively, it is being able to bring practice positives to game situations.
""We don't seem to play the same way we do in practice," Hisaw said. "We don't seem to translate the physicality and confidence."
Davis' offense - which averages 471 yards per game - is led by quarterback Deion Wright, who leads the Big Nine in passing yards (1,351) and total offense (1,524). He has completed 77-of-129 passes and thrown 14 touchdowns compared with just two interceptions.
Three Pirate receivers are among the league's top nine in catches. David Trimble (24 receptions, 403 yards, four touchdowns), Cooper Kupp (20-395-6), and Chris Chapman (17-364-3) are second, fifth, and ninth, respectively.
On defense only Wa-Hi (973 yards) has allowed more real estate on the ground than Davis (849 yards). But the Pirates have yielded just 285 yards through the air in four games.
"Their quarterback is talented," Hisaw said. "He runs the ball well and sees the field. They have speed on the outside.
"They've been putting points up on people," Hisaw said. "They scare you. They are as good a skilled group as we'll see all year. It will be a heck of a test for us."