Reynolds, Ellis, Wall dazzled all year
Published 10:05 am Thursday, November 19, 2015
If you didn’t see Davie’s Chris Reynolds, Ben Ellis and Cooper Wall on a regular basis this season, they were unbelievable. Even if you did, they were still unbelievable.
The terrific trio put up huge numbers:
• Reynolds, the junior quarterback, hit 207 of 317 passes, good for a .652 completion percentage. He threw for 2,874 yards with 28 touchdowns. What’s more, he rushed for 745 yards and 10 TDs.
• Ellis, a senior receiver, had 91 catches for 1,215 yards and 17 TDs. He scored 100 points.
• Wall, a sophomore receiver, had 67 catches for 1,102 yards and nine TDs.
The trio put a major beating on the Davie record books. On top of that, they soared to the top of the state’s stat book.
In single-season records, Reynolds is first in completions (Garrett Benge is second at 203), second in passing yards (Benge is first at 3,071), second in TD passes (Benge is first with 34) and he tied Benge for first in 200-yard passing games with eight.
On the state 4-A leaderboard, Reynolds is first in passing yards (the No. 2 guy has 2,506) and completions (the No. 2 guy has 166), and he’s second in TD passes (the leader has 35).
In Davie’s season records, Ellis is first in catches (Joe Watson is second with 69). Ellis owns the 1-2 spots in receiving yards (he had 1,191 last year). Ellis is first in TD catches (Watson is second with 12).
In career records, Ellis is first in catches with 147 over three years. Watson had 145 from 2008-10. Ellis is first in TD catches with 31 (Watson is next with 30).
On the state leaderboard, Ellis leads all classifications in receptions (the No. 2 guy has 73). In 4-A, Ellis is first in catches and second in receiving yards (the leader has 1,276).
Ellis and Wall created their very own club: The only duo to reach 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. In season records, Wall is fourth in catches, third in receiving yards and seventh in TD catches. Wall set a record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games with five.
In career records, Wall is already third in catches with 92 and third in TD catches with 13.
Wall is second in the 4-A state in catches. Yes, that’s right, Ellis and Wall are ranked 1-2 in 4-A in catches. Wall is fourth in 4-A in receiving yards.
When Ellis’ storied career came to an end, he was too choked up to talk much about it. He could not bring himself to unbuckle his chin strap. He swallowed and summoned: “I love all my brothers.” With tears flowing, he walked off to be alone.
“I can’t even begin to tell you what Ben means to our program,” coach Devore Holman said. “I’m going to fight like crazy for him to have an opportunity to play (in college). All he’s got to do is get in front of somebody and he’ll earn his keep. He’s just not 6-2. But his heart is bigger than 6-2. His (40-yard time) is good. He’s not a 4.3 guy, but he’s going to run you a 4.6 or 4.58.”
Opposing fans didn’t know what to say when the 5-11, 170-pounder tormented their team time and time again over the past two years. Ellis’ routes, technique, footwork, hands and craftiness were truly a work of art.
“The first thing I think about is his heart,” Reynolds said. “When they look at him before the game, they say: ‘There’s no way this kid is that good.’ But he’s got everything you want. He’s got the speed, the cuts … He makes himself open. Some of the balls I throw aren’t the best, but he gets himself so wide open. He messes with the DB’s ankles and he understands the game. We worked so much over the offseason. He just has heart and you can’t find that in many people. He’s very football smart and football-oriented.”
The most prolific passing game in 4-A doesn’t materialize without a special No. 2 man. Wall has flypaper hands and a football IQ off the charts just like Ellis. Wall is 6-2 with breakaway speed.
“Before the season, he was all about basketball,” Reynolds said. “He wasn’t antsy about football. He would say, ‘I’m ready, but it’s still basketball.’ But when the season starts going on and footballs kept going to him … He’s a go-getter. I mean he will go and get the football no matter where it is. He’s a competitor for the ball. Not only can he go get the ball, but it’s yards after the catch. He’s very shifty. He gets people out of his way. I’m lucky to have him again next year. I’ve been with him since sixth grade when I moved here (from New Jersey).”
The the maestro conducting the passing-game orchestra was, of course, Reynolds. The 5-10, 165-pounder should receive much recruiting interest this winter.
“Last year I got a call from the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from Wake Forest,” he said. “He asked me to come to their camp and said they were interested. So that could be something. Georgia Southern came and talked to me, James (Boyle) and Luke (Pratapas) a couple of weeks ago.”
Reynolds is also a very talented baseball player. When asked which sport is No. 1 in his heart, he answered with no hesitation. “Football,” he said. “Football and baseball are two different things. In football, everybody in the town is there to watch it. It’s contact. The band. The student section. Baseball is more of a calm sport. I just love everything about football.”
In the 44-36 playoff loss at unbeaten Scotland County, the War Eagles made a statement: They’re back. Down the stretch, they rekindled the program’s fire. During an 0-3 start, it was looking like the most forgettable season in memory. The coaching staff moved mountains, the War Eagles made an almost incomprehensible level of improvement and big possibilities loom next year.
There were 15 seniors on this year’s team and seven senior starters. Receivers Ellis and Mitchell McGee and left tackle Gabe Gonnella were senior starters on offense. DBs Caleb Wallace, Avery Williford and Anthony Hunckler and lineman Jarrell Farmer were senior starters on defense.
“We came up a little short (at Scotland), but I hope this helps propel us in the offseason and into next year,” Holman said. “They know we can play with people (of that caliber). We’ve got a lot of kids coming back.”
Reynolds is excited about having four O-linemen back. “I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said of Gonnella, Ross Starnes, Bailey Sloan, Zach Clubb and Pratapas. “Every game they got better and better, and it was a great feeling knowing they had my back. We are nothing without them.”