JV football holds off Reynolds

Published 9:39 am Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Davie JV football team has a five-game winning streak. After losing to Reynolds the past four years by a combined 22 points, the War Eagles opened Central Piedmont Conference play with a hard-fought 26-20 win over the visiting Demons on Oct. 4. They’ve already matched their win total from 2017.

Quarterback Alex Summers and runner DeVonte Lyerly exploded again. Sam Collins made a fourth-down tackle inside the Davie 10 to deny Reynolds. Beaven Arey and Peyton Helton came up with interceptions, with Helton’s sealing the deal.

In other words, Davie (5-1 overall) has been a lot of fun to watch since August.

In regard to the freshman quarterback, you figure the law of averages would rear its head at some point. But he was sensational again, completing 12 of 17 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The passing yards were a season high.

“You will not believe the progression he has made from when we first saw him at Ellis,” coach Blaine Nicholson said. “Halfway through the summer, we were thinking: ‘Oh my goodness, hopefully DeVonte is going to be able to carry it 35 times a game.’ Now we’re a really balanced offense and we don’t have to run to set up the pass.”

After Reynolds (3-2 overall) scored first, Lyerly’s 12-yard run tied the game at 6. After Collins and Jadon Davis had tackles for loss on back-to-back plays, Reynolds got off a short punt and Davie took over at the Demon 35. Summers hit Isaiah Lytton for 14 yards, then connected with Zymere Hudson on a slant, a 21-yard TD score that gave Davie the lead for keeps. Arey’s kick made it 13-6 early in the second quarter.

But Reynolds was no slouch opponent. The Demons drove 73 yards with 17 running plays, moving the sticks six times before cutting the margin to 13-12. Collins protected Davie’s lead on the two-point play, nailing the quarterback as he threw to force an incompletion.

On the ensuing possession, Hudson went high to make what may have been the catch of the year, a 33-yarder to the Reynolds 30.

“He pirouetted in the air,” Nicholson said. “The defender was in great position, but Zymere went over top of this guy and made an astounding play. That got the kids going. To have the body control to do that is awesome. I hope Zymere develops into that guy for us because he would add a whole new dimension to our offense on the varsity level.”

Three plays later, Lyerly started around left end, cut right and then kicked into another gear to score a 36-yard touchdown with 1:49 left in the second. The astonishing freshman had 19 carries for 133 yards, marking his third 100-yard rushing game of the season.

“It doesn’t make sense when so many guys have an angle on him and he gets out of there with no problem,” Nicholson said. “He can turn on a dime and accelerate so fast. He’s amazing.”

Davie led 20-12 at the half, and Arey picked off a long pass on Reynolds’ first possession of the second half to give Davie the ball at midfield.

“He had the clutch late (INT) against Carson that sealed the deal,” Nicholson said. “He could have had another one early on (against Reynolds). He’s really turning into the guy that communicates well back there. He studies his film, he knows where the plays are going and he can help his side get lined up, too. So he puts himself in a position to succeed.”

Summers appeared to get hit with his arm moving forward, but the referee ruled fumble and a long return set up Reynolds at the Davie 14.

“Instead of calling it incomplete, they called it a fumble,” Nicholson said. “That let them back in the game and gave them momentum.”

Reynolds’ momentum was short-lived thanks to a defensive stand. Helton and Ivan Poag teamed up for a tackle to force a fourth-and-3 situation at the Davie 7. The call was a QB keeper. Collins planted him 2 yards back, preserving the 20-12 lead.

“We bowed our necks even when things were not going our way,” Nicholson said. “They had run similar plays all night. They put their running quarterback in, but they didn’t cut us off from the back side.”

Davie’s offense regained firm control after taking over at its 9. Lyerly sped 19 yards. MJ Holleman turned a short pass into 31 yards. On third-and-5, the slant to Hudson was golden again. Hudson wasn’t touched on a 32-yard scoring play with 2:59 left in the third.

“We throw it around 20 times a game, which is about 15 more than most JV teams,” Nicholson said. “The receivers are running their routes precisely, and Alex knows exactly where they’re going to be.”

Arey’s PAT was no good, but Davie had a two-score lead at 26-12.

A 15-yard penalty moved Reynolds’ offense to the Davie 24, but Collins recovered a fumble on the next play. A highlight-reel play by JT Bumgarner should have finished off the Demons, but a flag kept them on life support. Bumgarner caught a pass, broke a tackle and raced for what appeared to be a 90-yard TD. A block in the back negated the score and reduced it to a 71-yard play. Summers was sacked and Davie punted.

“It’s a good lesson learned because it wasn’t necessary,” Nicholson said of the flag. “We don’t need to put it in the ref’s hands. You hate to see that for JT, but JT was just glad we got the win because that’s the type of guy he is.”

Davie forced a punt, but Davie fumbled at the Reynolds 40.

Davie committed pass interference on fourth-and-12. Another PI penalty pushed Reynolds to the Davie 32. Helton got his hands on a pass, but a Demon grabbed the deflection and scored a 32-yard TD with 1:23 remaining. After a successful two-point run, the Demons were within 26-20.

Reynolds stopped the clock with timeouts, Davie failed to convert a fourth-and-2 and Reynolds still had life at the Davie 48 with :49 left.

“We could have executed better down the stretch,” he said.

The defense rose up. Lineman Darius Leonard, who had to be helped off the field earlier but soon returned, got a 6-yard sack on first down.

“Darius is a tough nut,” Nicholson said. “He’s all about making plays. We had to calm him down a little bit because he gets too fired up sometimes. It’s really just effort; it’s not like he’s a fast guy. But his effort is just relentless, especially in late-game situations.”

After pass interference moved Reynolds to the Davie 39, Helton came up big, intercepting at the Davie 10 to ice the first win over Reynolds since 2013.

“One of the main reasons that Peyton is on the defensive side is he can go up and high-point the ball and because of the length, athleticism and playmaking ability that he has,” Nicholson said. “He’s going to be a tough pass defender. That’s great for his confidence that he got another opportunity and he capitalized.”

Here are Summers’ white-hot numbers over four games: 53 of 78 for 777 yards, with nine TDs and one INT. Lytton had six catches for 74 yards. Hudson had three for 86. Five guys had receptions, including Cole Warner.

“Alex makes his reads quick and gets it out there,” Nicholson said.