By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record
Davie has thrived on defense all year. Fittingly, a defensive player, DB Devon Parks, came up big with the score 7-7 against visiting Hibriten here Friday.
Parks intercepted Jacob Copper midway through the third quarter and waltzed 38 yards to the end zone to subdue the Panthers in an eventual 21-7 win in the final nonconference game of the year.
This wasn’t a Davie offensive game that will live forever in any kind of fond memory. The defense did the heavy lifting, with a little help from special teams. Another defensive back, Caleb Mathis, nailed it down with a TD on a 17-yard punt return later in the third.
Davie’s suffocating defense had one hiccup, allowing a 54-yard touchdown pass on the next-to-last play of the first half, but it was an otherwise masterpiece for the D.
“They played enormous tonight,” coach Doug Illing said. “They put us on their back and took us to victory. We were persevering through all these injuries, and they continued to make plays.”
The War Eagles’ fourth consecutive win lifted them to 5-1. The Panthers fell to 3-3.
The defense held a fourth straight opponent to seven or fewer points. Before the bomb to end the half, it had not allowed a TD in 11 quarters. It was the fourth TD against Davie’s D in six games. Hibriten’s Devell Maxwell managed to break a 24-yard run, which was the longest Davie has allowed this year by one yard. The longest pass Davie had allowed was 29 yards.
“We’re like brothers out here and we back up each other,” nose guard Austin Gunter said.
“We’re very disciplined and do what the coaches ask,” linebacker Alex Gobble said. “We’re very coached up with what we do. We have four whistles to get to the ball (in practice) or we’ll have gassers. It motivates us to get to the ball. The coaches blow four whistles. On the fourth whistle if 11 people are not around the ball, then that’s a gasser.”
Jamal Lackey (13 tackles), Corvonn Peebles (11), Gobble (nine), Kyle Bullins (seven), Mookie Martin (seven), Gunter (six) and Andy Lewis (six) led the way as Davie stymied Hibriten’s triple-option flexbone.
“We’re fast, we’re a team and we have a lot of heart,” said Bullins, whose father John coaches DBs. “Everybody’s on the same page. We’re one team, one heart.”
“We all do our jobs and everybody does it as hard as they can,” Mathis said.
Cade Carney and his offensive line hit Hibriten right in the mouth at the beginning of the game. Carney raced down the field in two plays, rumbling 18 and 67 yards for a 7-0 lead 52 seconds in.
“That’s what happens when it gets blocked right up front,” Carney said. “The holes open up and the cutback’s there.”
The War Eagles looked destined to punish the Panthers like they did last year (56-12). But Carney’s foot was injured on the 67-yard TD run and he didn’t see action the rest of the half. He would return, finishing with 163 yards.
“When he tackled me in the end zone, my foot got buckled under his body,” Carney said.
Hibriten stuffed Davie on a fourth-and-1 run from the Hibriten 21, ending a 13-play, six-minute drive and changing the Panthers’ vibe.
Bullins’ 8-yard sack had Hibriten in second-and-23 from its 46 with 12 seconds left in the half. The War Eagles had not given up a 30-yard play all year, but they surrendered the 54-yard TD pass with eight seconds on the clock. It was Hibriten’s only completion of the game ...