Davie creams Carson

Published 9:53 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

CHINA GROVE – It was a mismatch, like a dad playing ball with his kid in the driveway.

The Davie football team’s performance matched pregame assumptions as the War Eagles buried Carson with a 43-point first half and dug a deeper grave for their 0-2 start. With a running clock throughout the second half, Davie settled for a 43-7 nonconference win Friday in China Grove.

Davie (3-2) has outscored opponents 119-40 during a three-game winning streak. The 3-A Cougars (1-4) suffered their fourth straight loss.

In the first ever meeting between the teams, Davie’s dominance began on the game’s third snap. Quarterback Josh Hall went to Mason Wilson, who outdueled two defenders to make a 35-yard reception. On the eighth play of the series, Josh Robinson took an option pitch and scored from 11 yards out.

A telltale sign for Carson’s offense came on its first play. Hunter Courtney got the handoff and linebacker Cody Hendrix greeted him rudely at the line of scrimmage. Three plays later, Kinston Whitener blocked a punt, barely beating teammates Hendrix, Broc Barnette and Anthony Olmedo to the spot.

It was going to be a tough task for Carson to beat Davie with quarterback Cole Sifford. With Sifford sidelined by an injury, Carson was overwhelmed all the more.

“We had some things we had to get better at,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “What I was really focussed on was coming out ready to play. We didn’t handle that well (at West Rowan, which jumped on Davie 14-0 before the War Eagles won going away, 42-20), so I wanted to be ready to go from the start. They responded to that and executed as best that they could.”

On third-and-10, Hall got loose for 11 yards on what appeared to be a broken play. On the next play from the Carson 7, Robinson broke a tackle behind the line, used a spin move at the 6 to shake off a Cougar and scored.

Less than five minutes into the game, Carson was well into its free fall.

Carson punted and Hall immediately looked deep for Wilson, who reeled in a 41-yard pass. Adrian Cranfill weaved for 17 yards before Davie settled for a 25-yard field goal from Skyler Schoppe.

After safety Mitchell Ijames broke up a pass attempt with a big hit from behind, defensive wizard Hendrix made a house call. On the second-down play from the Carson 31, Hendrix assumed his ready-to-go stance at the 35. As quarterback Josh Lee rolled right, Hendrix flowed to the 30, diagnosed the play and dropped back into coverage. He intercepted at the Carson 36 and came up with a creative return. He broke a tackle at the 32 as he headed down the left sideline. He broke another tackle at the 15, then cut right and wound up scoring on the right side of the end zone. It was still the first quarter and it was 24-0.

“What I really liked was everyone trying to block for him and being aware of not blocking in the back,” Devericks said. “Earlier in the year (against Mooresville on a Barnette pick), we had the same situation and we got it called back. So we talked about it in film. Hey, guys make sure we’re blocking in front. Broc made a good hustle play. He just cut the guy off; he didn’t hit him in the back. It was great execution by all 11.”

You could say Hendrix is batting 1.000 on two career interceptions. Last year he had a 70-yard pick-6 in a 20-3 win at West Forsyth.

“One of the receivers got a hold of me and I got away from him,” Hendrix said. “Then I saw the line of their offense and I decided to cut back. I had one dude to beat and Broc came up there and got in his way.”

Carson’s next play was a pass. The result was another interception, this time by Wilson. Five plays later, Jack Reynolds ran a corner route from the Carson 24. Hall made a sweet throw over the defensive back and Reynolds caught it in the end zone.

Reynolds had a 32-yard return on a 38-yard punt. On a run up the middle, Robinson again demonstrated get-off-me force and determination as he broke three tackles on a 9-yard gain to the Carson 1. He scored on the next play. The drive was seven plays and 36 yards, and Robinson accounted for every yard. It was the sophomore’s third TD in 18 minutes.

“Coach (Matt) Gould has been talking to his guys about breaking the first arm tackle that they get,” Devericks said. “They’ve really worked hard at practice on that. We feel like in past weeks we should have been breaking more tackles.”

Davie’s opportunistic defense achieved its sixth and seventh scores of the year. (Hite Merrifield had a pick-6 at North Davidson. Against Mooresville, Jalen Redmond returned a blocked punt to the house and Ijames had a pick-6. At West Rowan, Barnette recovered a fumble in the end zone and Redmond blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety. Hendrix’s pick at Carson gave Davie three pick-6s.)

With five minutes left in the first half, Redmond did the scoop/score thing again. A pitch was fumbled and the ball bounced 19 yards back. Redmond snatched it in the end zone, boosting the margin to 43-0. Now Redmond owns three of the seven defensive scores, not to mention a team-high three fumble recoveries on the year.

“The front seven did a tremendous job (all night),” Devericks said.

The halftime stats reflected the nature of a game pitting a surging team against an outmanned team. Davie had 14 first downs, six touchdowns and went 6 of 7 on third-down tries. The Robinson-Peyton Hampton-Cranfill trio rolled up 116 rushing yards while plowing behind Ross Starnes, Preston Robertson, Grant Copeland, Tanner Batten and Owen Brown. The suddenly potent passing game – Hall and Co. had a breakout the week before at W. Rowan – turned four completions into 114 yards, good for a 28.5-yards-per-catch average. Wilson had two grabs for 76 yards. By contrast, the Cougars managed 21 yards and the backup QB misfired on all six passes, throwing two to War Eagles. They had two first downs, failed on all four third-down tries and committed three turnovers.

“We executed a lot of good things,” Devericks said. “They loaded the box, so we knew we had to try to take advantage of the outside. We were able to loosen it up and clear up the run for us.”

What was Devericks’ halftime message with a six-TD lead?

“We said we’ve got to keep playing to our standard no matter who’s in the game and to keep playing hard,” he said. “Everyone got in and everyone was excited about it.”

Per state rule, there is a running clock when there’s a 42-point spread at halftime or any point in the second half. Thus, the third and fourth quarters flew by. In the second half, Davie had zero first downs and netted 1 yard on seven rushing attempts. Carson picked up 87 of its 95 total yards after intermission.

Notes: Ben Summers took over at QB with nine minutes left in the second quarter and directed the final five series. He only attempted two passes, completing one to Peyton Sherrill. … Freshman Reynolds has a team-high four TDs. … Wilson got his second pick in three games. … Schoppe is 3 for 3 on FGs. … The War Eagles have ruled the turnover department all year. They have four giveaways (four INTs, no fumbles) and 14 takeaways (nine INTs, five fumble recoveries). …When Hendrix had 10 tackles, including seven solos and three for losses, at W. Rowan, he climbed to fifth in career tackles. James Boyle (497 tackles from 2013-16) is first, followed by Jared Barber (473 from 2007-10), D.J. Rice (460 from 2002-04), Patrick Lowery (457 from 1999-01), Hendrix (382 and counting since 2014) and Billy Riddle (381 from 2001-03).