Stokes, South steal football win from North

Published 10:53 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

North Davie’s football team had the ball with 1:50 left with a 14-13 lead. The Wildcats were ready to beat South Davie for the first time since 2015. They were a first down – or a punt/defensive stop – from celebrating on the Tigers’ home field.

All the Tigers needed was a miracle. All they needed was John Stokes.

Stokes stripped North’s ball carrier and recovered the fumble at the North 12. Then Hayden Williams tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Justin White with :15 left to cap one of the most improbable, stunning, unpredictable, topsy-turvy and stressful middle-school games you’ll ever see.

South (4-2), which stopped a two-game slide, escaped a 21-14 thriller on Oct. 18. North (2-3), which fell for the second time in four days, lost the most painful way possible. It’s one both sides will talk about for years to come.

“It was a really good game,” South offensive coordinator Germain Mayfield said. “We didn’t start playing until late in the fourth quarter, but North is solid.”

“I thought we had it,” North assistant Timmy Allen said. “They played their hearts out. We were proud of them.”

RJ Jordan broke a 30-yard run to put South on the board first. Arturo Lazcana’s kick bumped the lead to 7-0. North’s Logan Yokley answered immediately, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Ty Miller’s two-point conversion gave North an 8-7 lead.

South uses two quarterbacks and both were effective. Markell Summers and receiver Amani Hall hooked up for a 70-yard TD as South regained a 13-8 halftime lead.

“Markell went up and got it over a kid,” South head coach Antwoine Hairston said.

North regained the upper hand by capitalizing on a short field. South turned the ball over on downs at its own 5, and Miller ran it in for a 14-13 edge.

Williams and Bryan Argueta connected for 21 yards on fourth down, but later in the South drive, North’s MJ Jacobs intercepted a pass at the North 30. Jacobs lost control of the ball on the return and South came up with it, but officials ultimately ruled that Jacobs was down.

With 1:50 left, North had South on the ropes. Then Stokes came to the rescue. On first down, Stokes caused a fumble but North recovered. On second down, Stokes stripped the ball carrier again. This time Taye Maddox recovered for South at the North 12.

“It was a weird sequence,” Hairston said. “John is that type of guy. He is the only returning starter from last year. This year we moved him (from middle linebacker) to d-end. He’s got a motor. We knew he was going to dominate on d-line. We needed a play and he stripped it twice in a row.”

South had possession with one timeout and :35 on the clock. Williams completed a pass to Argueta for 3 yards. The same duo connected again, this time for 8 yards to the North 1.

“We got a big catch-and-run from Bryan,” Hairston said. “Luckily, he got out of bounds.”

On first-and-goal, a run by Jordan was stuffed by North, resulting in a 1-yard loss. South called its final timeout at :19.

On second down, Williams found White in the corner of the end zone – touchdown with :15 left. South had caught lightning in a bottle. Williams completed a two-point pass to Summers to close the scoring.

“Germain called a good play,” Hairston said. “We knew Justin was probably going to be open.”

It was a devastating loss for the Wildcats, who came oh so close after losing 39-14 and 45-16 to South the past two years. They got a huge effort from Yokley. They got three INTs in all, including picks by Mason Caudle and Miller. Cole Thomas recovered a fumble in South territory, only to see North come away with no points.

“Yokley played really tough on defense,” Allen said. “We didn’t capitalize on some good field positions. Credit to South. They had some good schemes going. We threw a pick in the end zone in the first half. We shot ourselves in the foot.”

North head coach George Newman cited Mason Shermer and Yokley.

“Mason splits time as a linebacker, offensive lineman and punter/kicker,” he said. “The kicking game was solid. He had a chance to have one downed on the 1-yard line, but it trickled into the end zone. He had a great directional punt away from the return man who fumbled with Thomas recovering.

“Yokley is flat out one of our best tacklers. His technique is fundamentally sound.”

White was a star for South. Besides scoring the winning TD, he had the INT in the South end zone. Williams (10 of 17 for 65 passing yards), Summers (2 of 5 for 72 passing yards), Jordan (11 carries for 69 yards) and Argueta (four catches for 36 yards) were vital. Summers (3-13) and Jordan (1-13) also had receptions.

Earlier in the week, North lost 36-18 to visiting North Surry.


Ellis lost 22-14 at Forbush on Oct. 17 despite Brody Smith’s touchdown on the opening kickoff. The game was suspended by lightning on Sept. 26 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.

After Smith went 75 yards on the kickoff return, Palmer Williams nailed a two-point kick to give the Jaguars an 8-0 lead. That was the score when play resumed 21 days later.

Ellis fumbled a handoff exchange, and Forbush returned it the Ellis 1, scoring on the next play to tie the score at 8. Williams’ 35-yard pass to William Purvis put Ellis in front 14-6.

Williams looked for Justin Hayes on third-and-long, but the ball was picked off and returned 65 yards for a TD, lifting Forbush in front 16-14. A 45-yard run bumped the Falcons’ lead to 22-14.

“Penalties killed us,” coach Danny Allard said. “We had about 10 penalties, all of them on offense, so we were behind the chains the whole game. Brody had a 55-yard touchdown run called back by a holding penalty.”

The Jaguars fell to 0-3, although they’ve been in every game. They lost 14-6 to North Davie. They lost 40-20 to High Point Christian after holding a 20-13 halftime lead.

“(Forbush) was bigger, stronger and more physical than we were, and we had a hard time moving the ball,” Allard said. “We battled all the way to the end. We just ran out of bullets.”