JV football goes out with a win

Published 9:53 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

Davie’s junior varsity football team closed its season on a high note, rallying for a 20-6 home victory over Parkland on Nov. 5.

The icing on the cake was Mason Wilson’s 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The cherry on top was Ben Summers’ 53-yard touchdown pass to Devin “Deadbolt” Martin.

The closing surge – three straight wins following a four-game losing streak – to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Central Piedmont Conference was night and day compared to the end of 2014. Last year Davie dropped five of the last six to finish 4-6, 1-5.

West Forsyth finished first in the conference at 6-0. North Davidson was second at 5-1. Reynolds, Mt. Tabor and Davie tied for third.

“Last year we finished sixth in the conference,” first-year JV coach Blaine Nicholson said. “It was a really good year. I’m really proud of the guys. I couldn’t ask for a better group to go through my first year with. I’ll cherish them forever.”

The War Eagles were as good as they needed to be. It was a struggle for most of the first half. On Parkland’s first possession, the Mustangs drove for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Davie’s first two possessions resulted in punts. Ta’Saun Martin got an interception for Davie, but the War Eagles turned the ball over on downs around midfield.

“They are drastically improved from what we’re used to both on JV and varsity,” Nicholson said. “It wasn’t pretty by any means, but we got the job done.

“Early on, the whole thing of it being the last JV game kind of weighed heavy on our guys.”

Summers is a major reason Davie was able to rally to .500, and his 75-yard TD pass to Mitchell Ijames injected life into the War Eagles. Skyler Schoppe converted the kick, and Davie suddenly had a 7-6 lead with 2:35 remaining in the second quarter.

“Mitchell was running a seam route and he bent it away from the safety,” Nicholson said. “Ben gave him a really good ball; he threw it to his outside shoulder. Mitchell adjusted to it.”

Nicholson’s halftime message was: “Come on, let’s have some fun. This is the last game, so we’ve got to win it.”

Though the score remained 7-6 throughout the third quarter, Davie wound up having too much firepower for the Mustangs. After a Parkland run converted a third-and-18 and a pass moved the sticks on second-and-28, the momentum shifted to Davie’s side for good when twins Anthony and Jesus Olmedo teamed up for a minus-3 tackle on a first-and-5 run from the Davie 33.

“Jesus does his thing each and every week,” he said. “He’s a big reason why we’ve had success.”

On second-and-8, Wilson, playing the spur position, sacked the quarterback 14 yards back.

“The guy almost spun out of it, but Mason didn’t let him go and he held on,” he said. “Mason came off the edge like he used to his freshman year when he played on the line. Last year he led the team in sacks.”

Wilson wasn’t done. On third-and-22, a defensive lineman knocked the ball loose. Wilson scooped it and raced 45 yards the other way for a touchdown. Schoppe’s kick made it 14-6 with 10:20 to go.

“The ball squirted around, but Mason, just being a good athlete, came up with it and took it to the house,” he said.

Parkland mounted a threat, but it fumbled at the Davie 29 and A. Olmedo recovered with 7:12 left.

The knockout blow came moments later when Summers found Martin with a home-run ball. The 53-yard TD with 5:48 to go made it 20-6. Schoppe had been perfect all year on PATs until this one was blocked.

Summers only completed five of 14 passes, but he made up for it by throwing for 143 yards and two TDs and averaging 28.6 per completion.

“Devin had been beating him all night, and one time Ben threw it too close to the middle of the field,” he said. “Coach (Jimmie) Welch called a good play, Ben put it out there over his outside shoulder and Devin could run right underneath it.”

Defensively, Davie got solid efforts from Ijames, T. Martin and Damien Garcia.

“We made an adjustment and put Ijames at free safety – where he had not played since the West Forsyth game; he had been playing corner – and he made some great plays,” he said. “Ta’Saun did great things, too. He made an interception and he was never out of place.”

Ryan Smith and Reese Bridgman played vigorously off the bench.

“We had a couple people come of the bench and help us out, like Smith (at spur when Charlie Osborne came out and Mason moved to bandit),” Nicholson said. “Smith is a freshman who hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time. But when he gets in there, he’s going full tilt.

“Another kid did the same thing. Bridgman got some action (at linebacker). He was looking to hit some people and he definitely did that.”

Nicholson saluted his fellow coaches for their immense help in making it a successful season.

“I appreciate all the coaches,” he said. “I know it’s not always easy to take time with the JV program, but they really coached up our guys. I really think this group is going to be able to help the program the next two years because there’s no question about their effort and none of them have bad attitudes.”