Devils shake off Davie’s fast start

Published 9:21 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

Josh Robinson raced 80 yards to the end zone. Matt Hill intercepted a pass. Robinson powered 10 yards to the end zone. The Davie football team’s 13-point explosion in two minutes was something to behold.

Unfortunately for the War Eagles, 46 minutes remained in the game – plenty of time for Mooresville to recover.

The Blue Devils did exactly that, blowing past visiting Davie 52-32 in Friday’s nonconference game.

The War Eagles, coming off an emotionally-charged win over North Davidson, slipped to 1-2. Mooresville, which had a bye and two weeks to prepare for Davie, improved to 2-0 in Thad Wells’ first year at the helm.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, left guard Owen Brown cleared a path and right tackle Jared Simpson had a 200-pound opponent on skates. Robinson wasn’t touched, running 80 yards. Skyler Schoppe’s PAT made it 7-0 with 47:47 remaining.

On Mooresville’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Hunter Deberardino faked a handoff and rolled right. He threw an ill-advised underhand pass that Hill intercepted at the Mooresville 22. Five plays later, Robinson was in the end zone again, thanks to fine blocks from center Grant Copeland, left guard Tanner Batten and left tackle Camden Beck.

The PAT was wide left, but it was 13-0 Davie before fans could get their seats warm. The running score in two years was Davie 47, Mooresville 13.

“There were some things we executed real well early,” coach Tim Devericks said. “But Mooresville is a good team. They’re not just going to roll over and give it to you.”

The 13-0 momentum changed quickly. AJ Stewart took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards. When kicker Willie Moure missed Stewart at the Davie 38, there was no hope of getting him.

“It’s attention to detail and being disciplined in our lane coverage, and we didn’t have it,” Devericks said.

Isaiah Cuthrell blocked the kick, keeping Davie’s lead at 13-6. But it was 13-8 less than two minutes later. A snap sailed over punter Peyton Hampton’s head and rolled into the end zone. Hampton did the smart thing and threw the ball out of the end zone, resulting in a two-point safety for the Blue Devils.

Then they overcame third-and-32. Keshaun Black and Davie’s Justice Redmon both came down with a home-run ball, but the 43-yard catch went to Black. Two plays later, Deberardino, who didn’t play in Mooresville’s 21-7 win over West Rowan, hit a wide-open Jackson Link for a 21-yard score. Scoring three times in 4:32, Mooresville had a 15-13 lead.

The QB at West Rowan was Bobby Davis, a 5-9, 160-pound senior who rushed for 130 yards and passed for 80. But Davis played sparingly against the War Eagles, who were burned by Deberardino, who offset three INTs by averaging 21 yards on 11 completions.

“They’re going to play both,” Devericks said. “One is more of a runner. I think (Davis) was a little hampered with his legs tonight. But the other (Deberardino) executed their plays really well. They’ve got a phenomenal skill set (of receivers and running backs), too. (Deberardino) put it there and they made the catches when they needed to.”

Davie’s first trip to Mooresville since 2006 saw 897 yards and 12 TDs, including Davie’s 11-play, 65-yard answer in the second quarter. The drive was sparked by Nate Hampton’s 30-yard completion to Jack Reynolds. On fourth-and-8 from the Mooresville 23, Hampton took off and gained 9. On third-and-5 from the 9, he connected with Ben Crenshaw for 8. Hampton punched it in from the 1 as Davie regained a 20-15 lead.

Davie, however, wouldn’t find the end zone again until the fourth quarter, or 25-plus minutes after Hampton’s go-ahead TD.

Deberardino’s 35-yard pass to Sean Hill lifted Mooresville in front 22-20. Tate Carney caught a pass and had a first down near midfield, but he was stripped while fighting for extra yards – Davie’s first lost fumble in three games.

Davie’s defense gained a small victory by preventing a TD after Mooresville reached the Davie 9. P. Hampton and Ronald Wilson met Davis, who came in for one play, 4 yards behind the line. P. Hampton sniffed out a swing pass to running back Quamir Conner, burying him behind the line of scrimmage. Bishop Norman, Wilson and Andy Flores combined on an 11-yard sack. Mooresville salvaged three points when Isaac Riffle drilled a 45-yard field goal.

It was 25-20 Mooresville at halftime, and on the first series of the third quarter, a Mooresville ground game that did nothing in the first half suddenly got into a rhythm. Conner got the ball four straight plays and later scored from 2 yards out, capping an eight-play, 55-yard drive that made it 32-20.

“They drove methodically and tried to break our will,” Devericks said. “Unfortunately, that’s the first time I’ve been disappointed in this whole group. I saw little flashbacks to some attitudes we had last year.”

Things got out of hand when a N. Hampton pass hit off Reynolds’ hands. Reynolds knocked it up in the air when he tried to gather it, and Devan Joslin intercepted and went 41 yards the other way for a 39-20 bulge.

Every time the War Eagles did something right, they erased it with a negative play. Hunter Meacham picked off Deberardino at the Mooresville 45, but N. Hampton was sacked twice in a span of four plays. After Redmon picked off a long pass at the Davie 14, Crenshaw performed a 28-yard catch-and-run, only to see it brought back by an 18-yard holding penalty. A Davie TD in the fourth was countered by a Mooresville TD less than a minute later.

Davie must figure out some answers for its pass defense. Treymin Jackson, who was nonexistent for three quarters, was wide open across the middle, resulting in an 80-yard TD that made it 45-20 with 8:11 to go.

“The offense was hot early,” Devericks said. “The defense went through a lapse. The defense got it back organized, and then the offense was going through a lapse. We have to be more consistent on both sides of the ball and work for each other.”

After lacking juice for eight possessions, Davie’s offense regained its footing during garbage time. N. Hampton hit Adrian Cranfill, who caught it at the Mooresville 46 and won a footrace to the end zone for a 70-yard score. That was the TD that Mooresville countered in less than a minute, with Conner scampering 66 yards to paydirt.

Yes, things went sour in a hurry after the 13-0 start. Mooresville returned the kickoff to the house and had excellent field position after other kick returns.

There were some Davie positives, of course. Running the ball was a chore against Page and North Davidson, but Robinson (22 carries for 175 yards and three TDs) put up the most rushing yards in 60 games or five years. (Cade Carney had 190 in a 28-13 loss at North Rowan in 2013.) N. Hampton went 23 of 34 for 274 yards, setting a record for passing yards by a Davie sophomore QB. And another silver lining was the running of Carney, who replaced Robinson in the backfield during the last two series.   

Carney was responsible for 44 yards on five touches (two receptions, three runs) during an eight-play, 80-yard TD drive that closed the scoring. He broke a 21-yard run on Davie’s final series.

The War Eagles piled up 22 first downs, 506 yards, converted two fourth downs and suffered just one turnover, making you wonder how they lost by 20. The flip side: their defense was on their heels most of the night.

Notes: Robinson’s 80-yard run was the longest in four years, dating to Cade Carney’s 91-yarder in 2014. … The good/bad department: Davie has intercepted seven passes in three games, but it has also allowed seven TD passes.

Davie        13  7    0    12 – 32

Mooresville     15  10  14  13 – 52

First Quarter

D – Robinson 80 run (Schoppe kick), 11:47.

D – Robinson 10 run (kick fail), 10:00.

M – Stewart 86 kickoff return (kick blocked), 9:47.

M – safety, 7:56.

M – Link 21 pass from Deberardino (Riffle kick), 5:15.

Second Quarter

D – Hampton 1 run (Schoppe kick), 9:18.

M – Hill 35 pass from Deberardino (Riffle kick), 8:04.

M – Riffle 45 FG, 2:53.

Third Quarter

M – Conner 2 run (Riffle kick), 8:58.

M – Joslin 41 INT return (Riffle kick), 7:34.

Fourth Quarter

M – Jackson 80 pass from Deberardino (kick fail), 8:11.

D – Cranfill 70 pass from Hampton (kick fail), 7:51.

M – Conner 66 run (Riffle kick), 7:08.

D – Robinson 6 run (pass fail), 4:15.




Rushing 45-232 29-158

Passing 274 233

C-A-I 23-34-1 11-20-3

Punts 4-35 4-38

F-L 1-0 3-0

Penalties 6-53 6-50

3rd conv. 4-14 3-8



RUSHING – Robinson 22-175, Carney 9-60, Hampton 13-23, team 1-(-26)

PASSING – Hampton 23-34-1-274

RECEIVING – Robinson 5-52, Reynolds 4-44, Carney 4-31, Cranfill 3-71, Crenshaw 3-30, Little 2-8, Smith 1-30, Deters 1-8


RUSHING – Conner 15-146, Davis 4-26, Black 1-16, Torrence 1-3, Wilson 3-(-3), Deberardino 5-(-30)

PASSING – Deberardino 11-20-3-233

RECEIVING – Black 4-73, Link 2-38, Conner 2-8, Jackson 1-80, Hill 1-35, Stewart 1-(-1)