HOUSTON - As time expired at the end of the first half, Missouri City (TX) Marshall tailback Davon Crookshank saw a would-be touchdown bounce off the tip of his fingers.
Seeing a missed opportunity to increase his team’s lead to 13-0 over Missouri City Madison, Crookshank slapped his hands in disappointment, padded his chest to say the mistake was on him and made a commitment to make amends before the night was over.
“I knew I had to make up for that pass in the first half, and I knew in the second half I had to make it up for my team,” said Crookshank. “Everything I do is for my team.”
Crookshank delivered on his promise, scoring the game-winning touchdown in the final minute to lead the Buffalos to a 19-16 victory in their season opener Friday.
“We just went into the locker room at halftime and sat down and talked,” Crookshank said. “The defense evaluated, the offense evaluated and we just had to see what we had to change and see what different things they were doing. The second half we came out and we knew it was ours. We just executed.”
Playing in a read-option offense, Crookshank only touched the ball 14 times, but maximized his opportunities. He finished with 91 yards on 13 carries, scored on a 12-yard and 1-yard touchdown and 111 all-purpose yards.
Listed at 5-11 and 185 pounds, Crookshank was the team’s workhorse inside the red zone. On his first touchdown, Crookshank bounced off some defenders and carried others into the end zone.
On Marshall’s final drive, Crookshank finished it off himself, carrying the ball four straight times for eight, nine, two and one.
“Knowing it’s my last year and that we seniors I know they’re going to lean on me so I know I have to get the job done,” Crookshank said. “(I’ve) been working really, really hard this offseason to be ready for that.”
In his first game since committing to the University of Wisconsin, Crookshank showed that he is taking his craft seriously. More often a decoy for Marshall’s two dual-threat quarterback, Crookshank was active in pass protection, which included knocking a few unsuspecting blitzers on their fannies.
A year ago, Crookshank – who is listed at 5-11 and 185 pounds – wasn’t as willing to stick his nose in and do the dirty work.
“I take (pass protection) real serious, and I knew last year that was one of my main weaknesses so I knew I had to work on that,” said Crookshank. “Just want to protect our quarterbacks and help the lineman out.”
Crookshank is currently the lone running back commit in the Badgers’ 2015 class, which currently has 19 kids, four from the state of Texas, and is ranked No.21 in the Scout.com recruiting rankings.
Crookshank says his relationship with running back coach Thomas Brown is “real good” and that he routinely talks to everybody on the Wisconsin coaching staff.
“I’m real tight with them,” said Crookshank.
Before he travels up to Wisconsin, Crookshank’s main focus is becoming a team leader. He showed signs of that when Marshall’s offense stalled during the game, talking to teammates and trying to hold his team together.
If he keeps running the way he did in the opener, he’ll have many more followers.
“At the end of the day I’m glad we won on the scoreboard, that’s the main goal,” Crookshank said. “Stats come and go but at the end of the day I’m glad we got the W. Committed or not committed, at the end of the day when I get on the field with my team at Thurgood Marshall that’s what I’m focused on; practice, getting right, getting work, get in and out.”