West 27, Davie 13

Published 9:03 am Friday, October 26, 2018

Davie’s football team struck first against favored West Forsyth, went into halftime tied at 7 and was still in a 7-all dogfight in the fourth quarter.
Yep, there were a lot of positives last night for a team that came in with a fragile psyche. But the visiting Titans drowned Davie’s upset bid by big-playing their way to a 27-13 victory on Davie’s homecoming. West runner G’mone Wilson scored on 48- and 61-yard bursts; otherwise he had 25 carries for 84 yards. West quarterback Jalen Ferguson fired 45- and 33-yard TD passes; otherwise he threw for 64 yards.
Four game-turning plays left Davie coach Tim Devericks asking … what if? The War Eagles (3-6, 0-3 Central Piedmont Conference) are mired in their worst seven-game stretch (one win, six losses) in 40 years. Their losing streak (four) is the longest in 15 years. Going the other direction, West (6-3, 2-1) has won five of six.
“We went toe to toe with them,” Devericks said. “I don’t fault their effort. It’s just a lack of execution on a few plays. There were about six plays that changed the landscape of that game tremendously.”
Davie coulda/shoulda had West behind the eight-ball in the first half. In the opening minutes, Matt Hill recovered a muffed punt at the West 41. But a 22-yard field goal by Skyler Schoppe, who came in 10 of 11 on field goals over two years, was wide right.
Davie did capitalize on a Zach Smith blocked punt that gave his team the ball at the West 22. Josh Robinson rumbled through the middle for a 17-yard TD as Davie grabbed a 7-0, first-quarter lead.
Davie cornerback Kristian Lyons dove and barely missed an interception – the back judge called it a trap – that would have given Davie the ball deep in West territory. That near-miss came back to haunt when Wilson broke loose around left end for a 48-yard score that knotted things at 7.
Davie’s offense missed an opportunity in the second quarter, driving to the West 7 before a holding penalty pushed the War Eagles behind the sticks. Schoppe trotted out for a 36-yard FG try, but Devericks ordered a fake. Holder Jack Reynolds stood up to pass, but West’s defense wasn’t fooled and it remained 7-all.
The Titans marched into Davie territory and West coach Adrian Snow went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Davie 34. Defensive lineman Ben Norman stoned a run up the middle.
Davie’s offense missed another opportunity on its final possession of the half. Nate Hampton’s third-down pass of 9 yards to Latham Chamberlain moved the chains, but his pass on the next play was intercepted inside the West 5 and returned to midfield. The half ended with Davie’s Andy Flores and Matthew King making consecutive tackles for loss.
The War Eagles went to the locker room with mixed feelings. They had renewed confidence on both sides of the ball – 10 first downs to West’s six, 175 yards to West’s 129 and 6-of-10 conversions on third down – but they also knew they let West off the hook. With 91 rushing yards, Wilson was 73 percent of West’s first-half offense.
“We should have had 14 or 21 points and should have been ahead,” Devericks said. “We should have had a lot more pressure on them at halftime. We moved the ball down the field. We just couldn’t finish it.”
Wilson made a game-turning play early in the third quarter, shredding would-be tacklers on the way to a 61-yard TD that put Davie in a 14-7 hole.
“He’s a tough tackle,” Devericks said. “He’s real slippery and quick. Other than a couple plays, our defense played well against the run because they’re a run-heavy team.”
Davie’s defense responded nicely, forcing three straight punts. Then Robinson busted loose for 45 yards to the West 15. The drive, though, bogged down and Schoppe’s 30-yard FG was wide right.
Now West was smelling blood. Wilson’s 5-, 4- and 3-yard runs provided first downs and set the stage for the dagger. With the Davie defense fixated on the workhorse back, Ferguson play-actioned and completed a 45-yard bomb to Trae Archie, the touchdown that broke it open at 21-7 with 8:08 to go.
“They did a little post wheel, and we had some miscommunication,” Devericks said.
Davie’s defense had played with exuberance, but it was now gassed. On West’s next series, on fourth-and-4, Ferguson connected deep with JaQuan McMillian for a 33-yard TD that made it 27-7.
Davie’s Bishop Norman recovered a fumble at the West 44 with 3:03 left. On fourth-and-goal, Hampton scrambled for a 6-yard TD. But it was too little, too late for the War Eagles, who struggled mightily in the second half (1 of 7 on third down, 32 passing yards and five first downs).
Robinson flourished with 24 carries for 144 yards, marking his third 100-yard effort. Wilson countered with 193 yards on 27 carries as West defeated Davie for the sixth time in seven meetings.
“That’s a credit to the offensive line, too, for staying on their blocks, and Josh made the best of it,” Devericks said of Robinson’s performance.