Dudley here Friday night

Published 10:20 am Thursday, December 1, 2016

Yes, the degree of difficulty is about to go up for Davie’s football team. Way up.

The War Eagles, the No. 1 seed in the 4A West, will be the underdogs when they host No. 2 Dudley Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Both teams are 12-1.

The psychology of this matchup has changed since the Panthers’ 32-6 win at Davie on Sept. 2. In that one, Davie quarterback Chris Reynolds was limping around all game on a bad ankle. Receiver Cooper Wall was lost to an injury in the first half. Late in the regular season, Page edged Dudley 23-22. Davie handed Page, which is 12-1 and still alive in 4AA, its only loss by a score of 39-29 on Aug. 19.

There is one more common opponent. Dudley beat Southeast Guilford 55-8; Davie beat SEG 41-14 in the first round.

It’s one massive game vs. one formidable foe.  The atmosphere at War Eagle Stadium could be one for the ages. And Davie has a fighting chance.

On Sept. 2, the first quarter ended with Davie ahead 3-0. At that point, Dudley had 23 yards, two first downs and had punted twice. Jared Griggs’ second field goal made it 6-0. It was 7-6 – in Dudley’s favor – with less than a minute left in the first half.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Davie linebacker James Boyle said. “We’ll be prepared without a doubt and it should be a great game. We’ve won 10 games in a row. We’re riding pretty high. We think we can beat anybody.”

Wall and Reynolds got banged up against Kannapolis. Wall sat out the second half with a shoulder injury.

“In the first quarter, I dove for a take route and landed on my shoulder,” Wall said. “The guy landed on top of me. When I got up I couldn’t really feel it that well. I would have had to fight through it (in a closer game).”

Reynolds absorbed some shots in the fourth quarter. Ben Summers relieved him for the final three series, breaking a 24-yard run before Davie went to victory formation.

Both say they’ll be ready for combat come Friday. When Wall was asked if he’ll be OK, he replied, “for sure.” Reynolds said: “I’m good. I’m sore, but that’s about it.”

After tearing through Watauga in the second round, Dudley senior defensive back Brion Seagraves, who has committed to N.C. Central, was asked about the next round.

“We’re faster and stronger (than Davie), but we need to be smarter than we were tonight,” he told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Dudley coach Stephen Davis told the Journal: “They’re a good team. I know it will be a different game this time around.”

Davie hasn’t lost since the Dudley game, but it will have its work cut out against Seagraves, a 6-5 quarterback headed to Virginia Tech (Hendon Hooker) and a junior DB headed to UNC (D.J. Crossen).

The Panthers lead the series 6-1. In the first round in 2011, they beat Davie 29-25 on a Hail Mary, a gut-wrenching end to QB Adam Smith’s career. That was the first meeting since 1992, when QB Bubba Coleman willed Davie to a 25-18 victory. Dudley has a three-game winning streak in the series, including a 56-14 blowout in 2015.