Davie lets North off hook early

Published 11:40 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

Davie’s football team let North Davidson off the hook in the first half, failing to take advantage of five turnovers in a span of 19 minutes.

Once North (1-1) began taking care of the ball, the host Black Knights pounded out a 28-7 nonconference win last night.

The War Eagles (0-2) had every opportunity to put North in a hole in the first half. Less than four minutes into the game, Broc Barnette intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it to the North 38. Less than two minutes later, Kinston Whitener recovered a fumble at the North 22. Five minutes later, Jalen Redmond recovered a fumble at the North 47.

Davie’s offense failed to capitalize each time, keeping the game scoreless. Davie’s defense did something about it with 8:50 remaining in the half, Hite Merrifield catching a pass that was deflected by a defensive lineman and returning the interception 34 yards for a touchdown. After Skyler Schoppe’s extra point, Davie had a 7-0 lead.

Linebacker Cody Hendrix and Davie’s defense was swarming beautifully until Josh Sicignano and Jacob LaFlesh hooked up for 48 yards. It was a go route and LaFlesh beat one-on-one coverage, putting the ball at the Davie 31. North’s star runner, T.J. Boyce, finally broke loose three plays later, scoring on a 25-yard run. Chris Dunn’s extra point tied it 7-7.

Less than two minutes later, Merrifield got his second pick. His return was negated by a penalty, but Davie had possession at its 45 with 1:14 left in the half. After two unsuccessful runs, Davie let the clock run out.

Davie was content to be tied at the half while being outgained 135-24 in yards. Four sacks cost Davie 25 yards. North’s offense wasn’t much better with four first downs.

The second half, however, was all North as Davie’s defense wore down. LaFlesh burned Davie a second time, the same deep route down the sideline resulting in a 37-yard TD.

LaFlesh all but broke Davie’s back on North’s next possession, the senior receiver capping a nine-play, 54-yard drive with a 22-yard score, this time on a post route. It was 21-7 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.

It was going so bad for Davie that its 33-yard punt was returned 28 yards.

North applied the finishing touches on a nine-play, 62-yard march that capped the scoring. Boyce churned the ball on six of the plays, with a 39-yard completion from Sicignano to Themus Fulks mixed in.

Boyce, who had 173 rushing yards in a 20-16 loss to Mt. Tabor, carried 32 times for 151 yards. LaFlesh had five catches for 119 yards as North, which didn’t have a turnover in the second half, produced 167 yards rushing and 166 in the air. In the second half, Sicignano was 5 of 5 for 104 yards.

The War Eagles’ numbers were as ugly as they’ve been in a long time: One first down in the second half; seven rushing yards; 36 total yards; and 1 for 12 on third-down conversions. They had to punt 11 times.

This was the 50th meeting in the old rivalry. North leads the series 27-23.

In the first half, Merrifield’s helmet popped off as he delivered a hard hit. He didn’t play in the second half. Cornerback De’maura “Mo-Mo” Isaac was out with an injury after getting hurt late in a 20-14 overtime loss to Page, leading to the first varsity start for sophomore Samuel Hendrix. Receivers Mason Wilson and Cooper Wall remained out.