Lyerly, JVs pound Mooresville

Published 9:24 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

In a span of 10 plays, DeVonte Lyerly got the ball 10 times and roared for 99 yards. Get ready to hear this freshman’s name a lot during the Davie JV football season.

Lyerly was the offensive star in Davie’s 20-6 home win over Mooresville on Aug. 30.

The War Eagles, who had two weeks off after a season-opening loss to Page, improved to 1-1. They won without much resistance even though the Blue Devils were considerably larger at many positions.

“Athletically, they had some dudes,” coach Blaine Nicholson said. “But they can only put 11 on the field at a time. We’ve just got to win our one-on-one matchups.”

Lyerly took over at running back in Davie’s second offensive series. All he did was carry the ball five straight times for 60 yards, including a 40-yarder in which he broke two tackles. He ran for 6 yards to the Mooresville 2 as right tackle Spencer Williams created a gaping hole. He scored on the next play for a 6-0 lead.

Lyerly would carry the ball on 10 straight plays, the streak ending when he was shaken up following an 11-yard run. He finished with 15 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s far from a finished product.

“We see that every day in practice,” Nicholson said. “He’s a really tough tackle for our guys in practice, and we have some pretty tough and fast fellas. He’s got a good combination of power and speed.”

Two plays after Lyerly departed, two more freshmen gave Davie a 13-0 lead, with quarterback Alex Summers hooking up with Isaiah Lytton for a 47-yard TD on a seam route. Beaven Arey’s kick was good.

“Isaiah has incredible speed,” Nicholson said. “It was a pretty well thrown ball, too, because Alex led Isaiah and that’s hard to do because he’s so fast.”

Davie played equally solid defense most of the night. Ivan Poag, a sophomore linebacker, looked terrific with three tackles for loss and an interception.

“He’s finally playing downhill,” he said. “With him and Jadon (Davis), that’s two really fast inside linebackers who can run a lot of stuff down. Poag is one of the best athletes we have in the program.”

When it was 6-0 Davie and Mooresville had fourth-and-7 at Davie’s 36, CJ Dickerson broke up a long pass down the sideline.

Freshman Sam Collins looks like a star at outside linebacker. He had two tackles for loss that totaled minus-17 yards.

“Without Sam, we probably would have given up another touchdown or two, or at least a couple more big gains,” he said. “He’s really savvy about avoiding those perimeter blocks and making a tackle one-on-one in space.”

It was 13-0 at halftime, and on the second play of the second half, Poag intercepted a pass at Davie’s 37 and returned it 15 yards. Davie failed to score after having first down at the Mooresville 8. It didn’t help that Lyerly walked off with an injury following a 14-yard run. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious.

Davie’s defense did the bend-but-don’t-break thing during a long Mooresville drive. Isaac Webb, a freshman outside linebacker, delivered his second tackle for loss to force Mooresville into third-and-13 at Davie’s 38. Mooresville penalties would make it fourth-and-43. When a bad snap forced Mooresville’s punter to run for his life, Webb got his third tackle behind the line, this one good for minus-23.

“Isaac is a strong, fast, athletic kid,” Nicholson said. “He’s got to get the scheme down, but he’s tough. He can chase a lot of stuff down, too.”

On a first-down play, Lyerly rumbled 25 untouched yards for a TD with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter, establishing an irreversible edge at 20-0.

Josh Westmoreland recovered a Mooresville fumble on the next play from scrimmage. The War Eagles didn’t cash in that turnover, though it hardly mattered.

The Blue Devils finally got on the board in the late stages. They drove 75 yards in 14 plays, overcoming tackles for loss by Davis and Poag and scoring on a 9-yard pass.

The game was called with 3:38 remaining because of persistent lightning.

Nicholson was delighted that Davie had no problem beating a quality opponent, but it was ultimately a bittersweet night. Some of the shine came off the effort when Collins and MJ Holleman were ejected in the third quarter. As of Friday afternoon, Nicholson believed both would have to serve two-game suspensions. Davie will sorely miss both.

“Collins is a huge, huge, huge loss,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of depth. At the linebacker spot, we’ve got four to play four (positions).”

Holleman is an all-purpose weapon.

Nicholson said: “MJ is the holder. He’s on every special teams. He plays wide receiver and slot. He’s one of our backup quarterbacks. He’s a running back. He’s an everything type of player.

“(The win) was nice, but we’ve got a very, very long way to go before we’re proud of the product we’re putting on the field.”

When Collins was sidelined, freshman Trot Byerly slid from strong safety to outside linebacker. The 125-pounder flew around like his hair was on fire.

“He’s not scared,” Nicholson said. “I appreciate him being adaptable because we had to find another outside ‘backer. He did a pretty good job for never taking a snap there all year. He makes licks. He doesn’t have a sound tackling method yet. Once we get him straightened out on his tackling, he’s going to be tough in space.”

Notes: Darius Leonard and Andrew Shuler teamed up for a sack. … Davie rotated 10 guys among five spots on the offensive line. Avery Taylor and Zy’Mier Lewis played LT. Ethan Doub and Mark Dixon played LG. Merritt Killian and Taylor played center. Ashton Williams, Killian, Keith Davis  and Tanner Seachrest played RG. And Williams and Brandon Logan played RT. “The offensive line played good,” Nicholson said. “Coach (Jimmie) Welch and coach (Terrell) Wilson mentioned they are starting to get a good rotation of guys.” … Summers completed 4 of 11 passes for 69 yards. Zymere Hudson had three catches for 19 yards, while Lytton had two for 53. … Davie’s lights-out run defense held Mooresville to 24 rushing yards on 24 attempts. It did manage to gain 167 yards through the air on 15-of-24 passing.