Davie football back on track

Published 9:13 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

Davie’s football team didn’t just get a push from visiting Carson. Davie got a 48-minute fight. In the end, the War Eagles threw the biggest haymakers and held on 40-33.

The game was moved up two days to Wednesday to beat  Hurricane Florence. Davie (2-3) broke a two-game losing streak. Although the Cougars (2-3) suffered a third straight loss, they have made significant strides since last year’s 43-7 drubbing by Davie.

Carson’s flexbone, triple-option offense was a thorn in Davie’s side, but Davie had just two days to prepare for an offense it rarely sees. There are lingering questions on defense that need to be answered, but prevailing in a tricky game beat the heck out of the alternative.

“I think (a normal) week would have helped our kids,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “You see that (offense) one time a year, and the more reps you get the better you can handle it.”

The War Eagles raced to a 6-0 lead. On the game’s fourth play from scrimmage, Ben Crenshaw hauled in a 42-yard pass from Nate Hampton. On the next play, linemen Camden Beck and Tanner Batten opened a gap, Crenshaw performed a pancake block on the perimeter and Josh Robinson scampered 33 yards to the Carson 6. Then Robinson walked in from there for the touchdown.

Although Carson answered with an 80-yard drive – and 43-yard TD pass – Davie sandwiched three TD drives around a Carson field goal to build a comfortable halftime lead.

Hampton connected with Evan Little for 60 yards as Davie surged in front 20-10. Davie didn’t encounter a third down on a scoring drive that made it 27-10.

The War Eagles had a nice cushion even though two Hampton passes were dropped and Tate Carney had a 14-yard TD run called back by holding. Hampton had 224 passing yards for the half even though he missed four open receivers.

The Cougars, though, changed the tide of the game at the start of the third quarter. They used 10 runs and one pass to march 82 yards, and after they reached the end zone and converted a two-point run, it was 27-18.

The Cougars’ momentum grew when they sacked Hampton 13 yards back and watched a short Davie punt set them up at the Davie 32. It was a beautiful opportunity that quickly became a missed opportunity for Carson, which botched a QB/running back exchange. Davie’s Matt Hill recovered the fumble, and Davie scored two plays later.

“I wish we hadn’t fumbled that ball,” Carson coach Joe Pinyan said. “That might have been the difference.”

Robinson restored order for Davie, running 17 yards and then breaking a 41-yard TD to make it 33-18. He had his second banner night in a span of three games, finishing with 176 rushing yards, averaging 9.7 yards per carry and scoring four TDs. He has 429 yards over three games.

“I’m going to attribute part of our defensive breakdown to that running back is pretty special,” Pinyan said.

Carson didn’t go away, a 13-play, 93-yard drive and another successful two-point run cutting Davie’s lead to 33-26. For a moment, Davie was having flashbacks to double-digit-blown leads against Page, Mooresville and West Rowan.

“We’ve got to get better when we’re up on people,” Devericks said. “That’s the thing that is bothering me. But there’s a lot of things that happened this week that we can’t control with the weather and it being a short week.”

Davie’s offense just kept coming all night. After Crenshaw had a big kickoff return to midfield, Hampton converted a third-and-7 with a 13-yard completion to Adrian Cranfill. Carney barrelled for 10 yards and Robinson scored from the 6 as Davie took a 40-26 lead.

Carson stayed alive by responding with a 16-play, 90-yard drive. That made it a one-possession game again at 40-33. The downside for Carson: Only 2:14 remained and it had to have the onside kick. Davie recovered the kick at the Carson 48, and the knockout punch came on third-and-10.

Hampton and Little executed a pump-and-go play, with Little securing a 25-yard reception despite being pulled down before the ball arrived.

“Evan did a good job of selling the stalk off the bubble and then he released,” Devericks said. “There was a lot of contact and he fought through the contact. That’s where he’s grown. Nate had great protection to allow that to develop.”

It was a night of mixed reviews for the War Eagles. To their credit, they won the turnover battle 3-0 and balanced the run (221 yards) and pass (263). To their discredit, they allowed 297 rushing yards, 438 total yards and watched Carson convert 10 of 15 third downs. Carson also controlled time of possession, running 79 plays to Davie’s 57.

“When we got over here (after the game), the defense said: ‘Great job tonight (to the offense),’” Devericks said. “They were able to keep answering. Sometimes it was too quick, but you’re never going to pass up a score.”

Hampton, who did not throw effectively the week before against West Rowan, bounced back with the No. 2 mark for passing yards by a Davie sophomore (263). He seized the top spot with 274 at Mooresville on Aug. 31. Crenshaw was busy with six catches. Little stretched the defense with three catches for 126 yards, a season high for Davie receivers in ‘18.

“The quarterback made some good throws,” Pinyan said. “They don’t have a Cooper Wall, but they’ve got receivers who can make plays.”


• Robinson’s 5.6 yards-per-carry average on 85 overall attempts is only half the story. Carney has been thrown into the fire as a freshman and hasn’t blinked, averaging 6.2 on 42 carries.

“The best thing about it is they are encouraging each other,” Devericks said of the RB rotation. “They’re pulling for each other. When you have that, you have something good going. You don’t lose anything when one is in or the other.”

• The offensive line has made steady improvement, especially at run blocking. Against Carson, OL coach Jimmie Welch utilized freshman Beck at LT, junior Batten at LG, juniors Grant Copeland and Stuie Marshall at center, juniors Owen Brown and Paul Pollard at RG, and junior Jared Simpson and senior Spencer Hoke at RT.

“It helps when you have two special running backs, but the line has improved tremendously,” Devericks said. “Each one has their night. It might be two this night and two different ones the next night. As a whole, they’re progressing.”

• Davie’s secondary has run hot and cold all year. It has collected 10 interceptions in five games, an astonishing rate, but it has allowed 208 passing yards on average and 12 TD passes. Against Carson, Isaiah Cuthrell got his second pick in six days. Less than two minutes later, Hunter Meacham got his second INT of the season and returned it 59 yards as first-half time expired.

• Davie’s 2-3 record could change to 3-2. On Sept. 13, Page learned that it will likely have to forfeit three wins because two Pirates were academically ineligible. It might have to forfeit wins over Davie, Northern Guilford and Dudley.

Carson        7    3    8    15 – 33

Davie       13  14  6    7   – 40

First Quarter

D – Robinson 6 run (pass fail), 10:17

C – Jackson 43 pass from Smith (Turnbull kick), 6:45.

D – Robinson 2 run (Moure kick), :48.

Second Quarter

C – Turnbull 27 FG, 7:53.

D – Little 60 pass from Hampton (Moure kick), 7:28.

D – Carney 2 run (Moure kick), 2:11.

Third Quarter

C – Gonsalves 4 run (Gonsalves run), 7:14.

C – Robinson 41 run (kick fail), 4:40.

Fourth Quarter

C – Gonsalves 8 run (Gonsalves run), 11:23.

D – Robinson 6 run (Moure kick), 8:10.

C – Smith 1 run (Turnbull kick), 2:14.




Rushing 63-297 32-221

Passing 141 263

C-A-I 7-16-2 15-25-0

Punts 2-38 2-32

F-L 2-1 0-0

Penalties 3-26 9-94

3rd conv. 10-15 5-8



RUSHING – Pyle 18-109, Gonsalves 11-54, Courtney 11-53, Smith 11-43, Cipres 9-43, Johnston 1-2, team 1-(-7)

PASSING – Smith 7-15-2-141, team 0-1-0-0

RECEIVING – Jackson 5-90, Courtney 2-54


RUSHING – Robinson 18-176, Carney 12-61, Hampton 2-(-16)

PASSING – Hampton 15-25-0-263

RECEIVING – Crenshaw 6-64, Little 3-126, Cranfill 3-31, Reynolds 1-20, Sherrill 1-12, Carney 1-10