Reynolds, Wall blazing trails

Published 9:34 am Thursday, November 3, 2016

WINSTON-SALEM – The War Eagles strutted around in the aftermath of their 35-14 victory at Mt. Tabor, and deservedly so. They clinched a share of the conference title for the first time in five years, and now they’re on the doorstep of their first outright crown in 12 years.

“That conference championship patch means a lot,” senior center Bailey Sloan said. “To share it with all these people I’ve played with for four years means a lot.”

“We’re on a mission,” senior quarterback Chris Reynolds said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We’re on a chase.”

Reynolds had an off night by his standards, going 12 of 27 for 161 yards. He was averaging 229 passing yards. But like Prince, his bad records are better than most everybody else’s. Reynolds still threw two TDs, no picks and rushed for 48 physical yards. He has 50 career TDs passes, second only to Garrett Benge’s 57 from 2005-07.

“It wasn’t just me; it was everybody else on the team,” Reynolds said.

Cooper Wall – who had five catches for 72 yards, including a TD that gave Davie a 14-0 working margin – continued his surge in the career-receptions department. Ben Ellis is No. 1 with 147 catches from 2013-15. Joe Watson had 145 from 2008-10. Wall is third at 136, with a year to go.

Freshman Adrian Cranfill was effective moving the sticks, carrying the ball 13 times for 74 yards, and sophomore Peyton Hampton scored twice.

“Adrian battled some sickness this week,” coach Tim Devericks said. “For a freshman to come into a game like this … it was phenomenal the way he held onto the ball in a very physical game. The final score does not indicate what a great battle this was.”

If this had been a nonconference game, Hite Merrifield probably would have sat out. Against North Davidson, the sophomore safety suffered a sprained ankle and a deep bruise in the same foot. But it awful sitting out the 2015 playoff game at Scotland County and nothing was going to keep him lacing ‘em up at Tabor. He was gimpy, but he got through it with his famous brother, Whit Merrifield, in the stadium. Whit’s season with the Kansas City Royals ended in early October, and he has been on hand for the West Forsyth, North Davidson and Tabor games.

Merrifield, Angel Perez-Hunt, Mitchell Ijames and Ta’saun Martin helped disrupt Kedrick Patterson’s passing (9 of 25 for 187 yards, with two interceptions).

“I would say Hite was about 75 percent,” Devericks said. “But mentally he sets the back side for us. You would probably have to knock him out to keep him out.”

With a firm grip on first place, the War Eagles have a chance to take another big step Friday at home on Senior Night. They can win the league outright with a win over Parkland in the final regular-season game at the old stadium.

West Forsyth needs to beat North Davidson and Parkland to beat Davie to force a tie for first. Davie hasn’t finished alone in first since 2004.

“There’s no better feeling right now, but come Monday we’ve got to get our mind set on Parkland,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got to win and finish this thing out.”

“We’re excited about what’s going to come next,” left tackle Luke Pratapas said. “We’ve got some big goals ahead of us.”

After opening 5-0, the Mustangs (7-3, 2-3) have slumped of late. Their CPC scores: 35-7 loss to West, 36-35 win over Reynolds, 20-7 win over Reagan, 58-12 loss to Tabor and 56-28 loss to North.

Davie, which rallied past Parkland 39-19 last year, leads the all-time series 6-5.

Notes: Davie has won two straight from Tabor. Before that, it dropped 18 of 22 in the series. … Davie got a big assist from Jared Griggs, who averaged 36 yards on eight punts and pinned three inside the Tabor 20. … While Broc Barnette got his second interception, Ijames became the ninth War Eagle to get a pick. … In the poll, Davie is ranked third behind Butler and Page. Page’s only loss was to Davie on Aug. 19.