Davie wins pivotal shootout

Published 10:18 am Thursday, October 20, 2016

If you can put the Davie football team’s final homecoming game at the Mocksville campus to music, you’ll be a millionaire.

It was outrageously wild. It was Davie vs. North Davidson, old rivals meeting for the 49th time as the War Eagles approach the end of their 61-year existence on Salisbury Road before the opening of a new school seven miles across town.

It was Chris Reynolds of Davie vs. Joe Butts of the Black Knights, two classic quarterbacks who dueled as if they were on Tecmo Bowl.

The War Eagles jumped ahead 14-0 less than three minutes in and held on for dear life, 45-42, in a heart-stopping thriller before an estimated crowd of 4,000.

“Chris is special, but so is Joe,” Davie interim coach Tim Devericks said. “Those guys have some kind of magic. We were bringing pressure, they were bringing pressure and you just can’t seem to get them down. The scramble drill on both sides was a big factor. They were dodging the blitz and keeping their eyes upfield. Do you slow bleed or do you get punctured? Luckily, we had three more points.”

Davie improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference. With West Forsyth beating Mt. Tabor 33-27, the War Eagles are alone in first place heading into their bye week. North slipped to 5-3, 1-2.

“It feels amazing,” Davie senior receiver Tyler Roberts said. “I’m so glad I came back (after not playing football in 2014-15) to play on this great team and with my brothers. We love each other. It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced. Friday night lights – you just can’t beat it, especially with this crowd tonight.”

“The feeling deep down inside is like a knot in your stomach,” said offensive lineman Dex Bray, who transferred from Forbush for his senior season. “And when it opens up, it’s just amazing. This is all new to me.”

Davie fans had never, ever seen anything like Reynolds’ latest performance. He went 27 of 43 for 413 yards with five touchdown passes. He tied the Davie record for TD passes in a game (four) in the first quarter and broke the mark in the fourth. The passing yards were a Davie record. He matched his own record for completions in a game.

Helping Reynolds get the records were receivers Cooper Wall (10 catches for 124 yards and three TDs), Beau Byerly (5-129), Roberts (5-73), Mason Wilson (3-60), Adrian Cranfill (2-14), Ben Summers (1-12) and Brandon Hendricks (1-1).

“Chris can make the routine play. He can make the spectacular play,” Devericks said. “The special thing about Chris, he knows what he’s going to do before the ball is snapped. A couple of times we had run plays called and he threw it because he saw what the coverage was.”

But Davie got all it could handle from Butts and Co. North’s QB went 24 of 42 for 384 yards, throwing four TDs to offset two picks. Running back T.J. Boyce had 19 carries for 208 yards and three TDs as North outgained Davie 619-488. Davie helped itself by coming up with four of the game’s five turnovers.

“It was an awesome game from start to finish,” Reynolds said. “Joe Butts, one of my good friends, had a heckuva game, too. One of the personalities of this team is we don’t give up.”

The War Eagles came out smoking. After Ronald Wilson, Jack Little and Kinston Whitener helped force a three-and-out, Reynolds went to Roberts on Davie’s third play. Roberts caught the ball at the North 29 and raced in for a 41-yard touchdown.

When Butts completed a bubble screen to Zi Russell, Hite Merrifield was the first to arrive on defense, James Boyle delivered a hit that jarred the ball loose and Broc Barnette jumped on it at the North 35. On the next play, Reynolds and Wall connected on a post route for a touchdown, and it was 14-0 after two minutes, 46 seconds.

Cody Hendrix and R. Wilson had tackles behind the line as North went three-and-out. When Jared Griggs drilled a 31-yard field goal, it was 17-0 less than six minutes in.

“Emotion. The excitement of the game. We were just flat-out ready to play,” Reynolds said.

“We were just on another level tonight,” Wall said.

The Black Knights got it going on their fourth possession, covering 80 yards in seven plays to make it 17-7. Reynolds threw on the run, and M. Wilson made a 49-yard grab. Two plays later, Byerly had a 12-yard TD catch as Davie’s lead was 23-7.

“We just exploded in the first quarter,” Byerly said. “It was ridiculous. Three different receivers had touchdowns in the first (eight minutes, 11 seconds).”

But less than a minute later, North’s Boyce was sprinting 70 yards to the end zone. Whitener fielded a wicked short hop on a surprise onside kick. On third-and-12, Reynold was flushed to his right and he threw on the run. The result was a 38-yard completion to Byerly at the North 4. Reynolds lobbed a TD to Wall, and Davie’s lead was 29-14 with seven seconds left in the first quarter.

On a sweep left, Barnette threw Boyce for a 7-yard loss. How many times has the outside linebacker foiled a play on the edge?

“Broc is one of the fastest and one of the most physical kids on our team,” Devericks said. “He does a lot to make our defense multiple.”

On the next play, Butts went deep. Senior cornerback Angel Perez-Hunt made a beautiful, falling-down interception as he wrestled the ball away from Jacob Laflesh at the Davie 38. It was his third pick of the year, one behind Hite Merrifield.

“Phenomenal,” Devericks said. “Angel is a leader in the secondary. We ask him to do a lot. When Hite went down with a bum ankle, we moved him to free (safety) and he took it in stride.”

Davie drove to the North 5 in 12 plays, settling for Griggs’ 22-yard field goal. Davie had its largest lead at 32-14.

On third-and-1, Boyce started up the middle, but there was nowhere to go. So he bounced outside and went 56 yards to the end zone. Byerly made a spinning, one-handed catch – as he tightroped the sideline – for 27 yards, but Davie punted after scoring on its first six possessions.

On third down for North, a blitzing Boyle sent Butts into scramble mode. Jalen Redmond banged into him. Then Boyle slammed him for a 23-yard loss. Meanwhile, the ball was free. Spencer Wilson scooped and scored from 3 yards out. Now Davie was up 38-21.

“James killed him and the ball went flying,” S. Wilson said. “We have a scoop-and-score drill that we do every week, and it was natural because we rep it so much. We rep little things like that. We preach that the little things matter.”

On third-and-8, Boyce turned a screen into a 21-yard TD, cutting the halftime margin to 38-28.

On the first possession of the second half, Davie’s offense picked up where it left off, with Reynolds hitting Summers and Byerly for 12 and 38 yards, respectively. But Nygil Dalton started the second-half drama by intercepting a slant pass at the North 2.

One play later, Merrifield was being helped off the field with a sprained ankle, and Davie knew it wasn’t going to be easy to fend off the Knights, who marched 98 yards in 10 plays to chop the margin to 38-35. Davie was already a man down on the offensive line. Right tackle Ross Starnes was out with pneumonia. Junior Marvin Del Cid stepped in at left guard. Bray moved from left guard to right tackle. With Merrifield sidelined, Perez-Hunt moved from corner to safety. De’Maura “Mo-Mo” Isaac took over at corner.

“Coach (Jimmie) Welch pieced them together (on the OL),” Devericks said. “We asked some guys to do things they’re not comfortable with. Dex handled that well. Coach Welch did a phenomenal job to get those guys ready to give Chris the time to do the things he did tonight.”

“It was a very new experience for me (at RT),” Bray said. “I think the entire offensive line adjusted well. We toughed it out. Marvin stepped up. He had great experience in practice. He’s a hard fighter and he fought great.”

In the final 16 minutes, Hendrix played like a man possessed. Little and Hendrix stopped back-to-back Boyce runs at or behind the line. Then Hendrix, Redmond and Little combined on a sack.

“Coach Devericks was bringing Cody as much as he possibly could, trying to put some pressure on Joe,” Boyle said. “He got home about every time and that really helped our DBs.”

“It seems like Cody always comes up clutch,” Reynolds said.

On third-and-9, Wall moved the chains with an 11-yard reception. Running back Peyton Hampton got around the edge for 23 yards. Two plays later, Reynolds set the  record with his fifth TD toss – a 53-yarder to Wall on a post route. One play into the fourth quarter, Davie’s lead was back to two scores (45-35).

“It was in the back of my mind because I have tied it a couple of times,” Reynolds said. “But by the time Cooper scored, my mind was already on the next drive because we knew they were going to come back firing.”

“It’s something we work on all the time when I’m single covered,” Wall said. “When I see that I can beat the corner inside … Chris lets it go before I even break. I mean, that’s amazing. I give all the props in the world to him and our offensive line for keeping him protected.”

North went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Davie 11, and Butts converted with a sneak. But Isaac came up with a huge defensive play right when Davie needed it, an interception at the Davie 1 and a 53-yard return. Butts was looking for running back Boyce, who swung out into the right flat.

“Mo-Mo came up with an enormous, enormous pick,” Devericks said. “The pressure moved Joe out of the pocket and he did not get (the zip) he usually gets on it. With that extra second, Mo-Mo was able to make the play.”

Boyce was open for a couple seconds, but Isaac closed in a hurry as he jumped the route.

“I was playing man coverage and one of my teammates (Mitchell Ijames) told me to switch – because we were told before the game in man coverage we could switch if they switched,” Isaac said after his first varsity pick. “When I went to switch, the ball was already in the air. He was (open) until (Ijames) told me to switch. … It was very energizing.”

With help from S. Wilson, Hendrix sacked Butts 10 yards back, and North turned it over on downs at the Davie 47. With only 4:45 to go, Davie looked poised to put it away. But North kept the suspense going, forcing a three-and-out punt and quickly scoring on an 81-yard pass play. It was 45-42 with 3:27 left.

On second-and-12, Reynolds and Roberts pulled Davie’s feet out of the fire as they hooked up on a hitch-and-go for 30 yards to the North 34.

“I know what Bum (offensive coordinator Todd Bumgarner) was thinking,” Devericks said. “If we run it again, they’re going to call timeout and it’s going to be third-and-long and an obvious passing situation. Maybe we caught them offguard.”

“They’d been biting on our hitch route all night, so we gave it a little Hitch Ringo action and Tyler broke free,” Reynolds said.

“I was confident with the play call,” Roberts said. “I knew their corners were coming up and biting on that.”

When a last-second loss would have been devastating after leading the whole game, Griggs helped immensely with a 34-yard punt that checked up inside the North 1.

North picked up a first down. But Hendrix sacked Butts for the fourth time – and the clock was ticking and North was out of timeouts.

“We were trying to spy with James and drop him to give us more pass coverage,” Devericks said. “And Cody tried to spy Joe or he came on blitzes. And he made some huge, huge sacks.”

The Knights picked up two more first downs, and at the North 44, Butts spiked the ball to stop the clock with nine seconds left. The clock hit zeroes as Butts scrambled and looked for a Hail Mary throw. Davie fans exhaled deeply when Boyle tackled him at the North 48.

“I heard the scoreboard go off,” Boyle said. “At that point, it was a rush of emotions and I couldn’t hold back. We didn’t play our best (defensively), but we found a way to win. We’re going to grind it out every single time, and we’re going to find a way to come out with a win.”

N. Davidson    14  14  7    7 – 42

Davie       29  9    0    7 – 45

First Quarter

D – Roberts 41 pass from Reynolds (Griggs kick), 9:59.

D – Wall 35 pass from Reynolds (Griggs kick), 9:14.

D – Griggs 31 FG, 6:04.

ND – Smith 35 pass from Butts (Dunn kick), 4:52.

D – Byerly 12 pass from Reynolds (kick blocked), 3:49.

ND – Boyce 70 run (Dunn kick), 3:05.

D – Wall 4 pass from Reynolds (pass fail), :07.

Second Quarter

D – Griggs 22 FG, 6:59.

ND – Boyce 56 run (Dunn kick), 4:45.

D – S. Wilson 3 fumble return (kick fail), 1:49.

ND – Boyce 21 pass from Butts (Dunn kick), :23.

Third Quarter

ND – Russell 25 pass from Butts (Dunn kick), 5:47.

Fourth Quarter

D – Wall 53 pass from Reynolds (Griggs kick), 11:47.

ND – Dalton 81 pass from Butts (Dunn kick), 3:28.




Rushing 35-235 23-75

Passing 384 413

C-A-I 24-42-2 27-43-1

Punts 3-45 5-32

F-L 2-2 0-0

Penalties 3-21 4-55

3rd conv. 7-13 4-11


North Davidson

RUSHING – Boyce 19-208, Butts 16-27

PASSING – Butts 24-42-2-384

RECEIVING – Dalton 6-155, Smith 6-79, Russell 5-67, Boyce 4-61, Laflesh 2-9, Rogers 1-13


RUSHING – Hampton 12-64, Reynolds 7-7, Cranfill 4-4

PASSING – Reynolds 27-43-1-413

RECEIVING – Wall 10-124, Byerly 5-129, Roberts 5-73, M. Wilson 3-60, Cranfill 2-14, Summers 1-12, Hendricks 1-1