War Eagles visit West Rowan Friday

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Following a 53-22 shellacking from Page in the season opener, Davie’s football team has no choice but to move forward, not that it gets much easier.

In the first of three consecutive road games, the War Eagles will visit a stout West Rowan this Friday night at 7:30. Although both teams are 0-1, West’s competitiveness in a gut-wrenching 28-26 loss to Mooresville could mean bad news for Davie.

Then again, strange things can happen in this rivalry. Although West has owned the series of late, it’s almost always entertaining when these two get together.

“We’ll watch film the whole weekend, grade our kids and give them instant feedback,” Davie coach Devore Holman said. “We’ve got to make some corrections this week. I promise you one thing: We’ll show up there next Friday night ready to play.”

In the two-point loss to the Blue Devils, West committed 13 penalties and squandered a 20-7, second-quarter lead. There was no shame in losing narrowly to Mooresville, though. It has won 22 of 26 the past three seasons.

“We’re not in this for moral victories,” new West coach Joe Nixon, who was an assistant during the Falcons’ run to three straight 3-A championships, told the Salisbury Post. “The kids tried to grind, but I wish we could have made a couple of plays here and there.”

Kortez Weeks caught TD passes from Kacey Otto and sophomore backup quarterback Bryant Young. J.T. Sanders had an interception and returned a kickoff 82 yards for a TD. West limited Mooresville’s quarterback to four completions.

After Mooresville opened the scoring, West ripped off three straight scores and led 20-14 at the half. But then Mooresville surged ahead 28-20.

“They were able to run the ball,” Nixon said. “We left our defense on the field all night long. We’ve got to do a better job of getting first downs and sustaining drives.”

With West trailing by eight and 30 seconds left, Otto scored on a four-yard run. On the do-or-die two-point play, Otto’s pass in the right corner just missed the extended arms of Weeks.

“That’s a play we rep all the time in practice,” Nixon said. “We felt good about the call. They were in man coverage. We had what we wanted. They just made a play and we didn’t.”

While Davie leads the series 27-17-2, it has dropped six straight since a 35-21 win in 2008, when Davie’s Zach Illing passed for 281 yards to offset K.P. Parks’ 130 rushing yards.

The six straight losses: 39-36 in 2009, 40-0 in 2010, 45-32 in 2011, 14-7 in 2012, 31-27 in 2013 and 48-36 in 2014. Last year Davie was lit up by Harrison Baucom (241 yards on 18 carries). Otto (1-of-6 passing for 33 yards) wasn’t a factor and didn’t need to be. Davie’s Ben Ellis was incredible in defeat, setting a single-game record with 253 receiving yards on six catches.

West will likely present major problems on both sides of the ball, especially with its power running game.

“I’m going to tell you, it’s no secret what they do,” Holman said. “They’re a power team. They’re happy with three or four yards and a cloud of dust. Then they’ve got some weapons and they will spread you out. They will suck you in on the run, play-action and make some stuff happen. I hope we’re hungry from what happened last year.”