South football camps 8-0 season

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

South Davie football coach Perry Long had been close twice before. This time, his Tigers closed the deal.

The Tigers beat up on visiting North Davie, 39-14, on Nov. 2 to complete an 8-0 season. It was South’s first perfect season since 2013, when Curtis Gray led an 8-0 run with 1,469 rushing yards. Brent Wall was the head coach then, with Long serving as an assistant.

With Long as head coach, South went 7-1 in 2008, the only loss 14-8 to North Davidson. Long’s 2015 team went into the final game at North Davie sporting a 6-0 record. The Wildcats denied South 14-0.

In 2016, though, the Tigers were so loaded they were going to have to have a bad night to be in a close game and a really bad night to lose. Afterward, long-time assistant coach Germain Mayfield dumped a water cooler on Long as he addressed his troops for the final time.

“Man, I enjoyed coaching these kids,” Long said. “They played hard for me. They were competitive against each other. The seventh graders are great kids, they were willing to work and they helped us. I wasn’t ready for the season to end with these guys.”

The game against the Wildcats (1-7) was less about competition than it was a coronation for the Tigers. South rolled to a 27-0 halftime lead and coasted from there.

MJ Holleman, who plays quarterback and linebacker, took the opening kickoff 46 yards to the North 14. North’s defense made a stand, which gave South an opportunity to show off its kicker. Guillermo “Willie” Garcia banged through a 34-yard field goal, making him 3 for 3 on the year. He hit a 30-yarder against Thomasville and a 32-yarder against Chestnut Grove.

North faked a punt on its first possession. Mason Privett completed a pass to JT Richards, but the play lost 6 yards and South took over at midfield.

This not just in: Holleman can throw the football. He went 5 of 9 for 89 yards, throwing three TDs. The first was a 40-yard hookup with Jack Reynolds. After Garcia hit the kick for two points, South was up 11-0.

After a North punt, South went to work from the North 35. Holleman connected with Chase Robertson for an 11-yard TD, and Garcia’s kick made it 19-0.

North turned it over on downs, and Holleman hit Edgar Ramos with a 20-yard scoring pass. Garcia capped South’s third possession with his third point-after kick, and it was 27-0.

The third quarter was scoreless. Kristian Lyons scored both North TDs, first on a 9-yard sweep around the right end and then on a 16-yard run up the middle. Blake Little made one of his kicks as North pulled within 27-14.

South’s Devonte Lyerly did something about it, taking his first carry 44 yards to the end zone. On the final play of the game, Lyerly, a seventh grader, turned a basic running play into an 83-yard TD, breaking numerous tackles, reaching the right sideline and blazing a trail down the field.

“I really didn’t want him to score,” Mayfield said. “It’s not like we were throwing it. We threw it once in the second half.”

The fact that Lyerly only had two carries – resulting in 127 yards – speaks volumes about the depth of talent that South had at skill positions.

“Believe me, he’ll be getting more than two or three carries a game (next year),” Mayfield said. “He’s looking at about 15. JT Bumgarner will be back and our seventh graders are not bad. Our eighth graders were just so much better. We’re going to be fine (next year) as far as skill players. We’ve just got to find offensive linemen.”

The Tigers were wickedly consistent throughout the season, scoring 30-plus points in every game and the closest margin being 17 points. They outscored the competition by a staggering 308-82.

“This is one of those groups you hate to lose,” Mayfield said. “Everybody came to practice and nobody got selfish. When seventh graders shined and JT had catches, those eighth graders were on his back and rooting for him. Or when Devonte was hitting big runs, the eighth graders were the first ones to him and patting him on the back. It’s going to be hard to lose this group.”

Notes: Gage Recktenwald had two team-high catches for 18 yards. … Jordan Thompson (five carries for 47 yards) and Holleman (three carries for 42 yards) gained rushing yards in big chunks. … South’s record the last five years is 34-5.