Beastly backs could be one of region’s best duos

Published 11:10 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

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This is not the first time Davie has had a 1a and a 1 at the same position. It generally pays off handsomely to have two major talents at running back.

• In 1997 Cedric White rushed for 1,601 yards, younger brother Ricky White ran for 1,044 and Davie went 11-3 to set the then-record for wins.

• In 2004 Cooter Arnold rushed for 2,344 yards, Justin Brown added 1,396 and Davie reached the 4A semifinals and set a new record for wins, 14.

• In 2005 the issue wasn’t finding room for two RBs. That year Davie had a beautiful problem with two outstanding quarterbacks. Then-coach Doug Illing implemented a platoon system, and lo and behold, both guys flourished as senior Brad Corriher threw for 1,837 yards and sophomore Garrett Benge went for 1,253 as the War Eagles soared to 11-3.

In 2019, Davie has two freight train running backs – senior Josh Robinson and sophomore Tate Carney. It should be one of the best duos in the area.

Said head coach Tim Devericks: “One of the first points we made in the offseason as a coaching staff was we’ve got to find more ways to get both of them on the field at the same time.”

Robinson (5-9, 190) is a proven commodity. As a sophomore, he rushed for a team-high 569 yards and scored five TDs. As a junior, he led Davie in rushing again with 962 yards. He was also first in TDs with 13. His bruising rushing style punished defenders from Mooresville (175 yards), Carson (176), West Forsyth (144) and Reagan (131). After averaging 4.8 yards per carry, he was named to the All-CPC team.

Offensive coordinator Matt Gould: “He had over 1,000 total yards (rushing/receiving), and we’re expecting more of the same from him. We want to spread it out, but we’re going to try to get him the ball as much as we can.”

Devericks: “Josh has a lot of (college) interest. He spent a lot of time in the summer going to camps, so he’s on a lot of people’s radars.”

Carney’s freshman numbers belied his youth and inexperience. He carried 112 times for 645 yards, a 5.7 average, and scored six TDs. Davie saw flashes of something special as he ran for 132 yards against West Rowan, 152 against Reynolds and 149 against East Forsyth. He ran or passed for Davie’s last five TDs in 2018. The do-it-all weapon threw a TD pass, had 445 receiving yards and made All-CPC as an athlete.

Defensive coordinator Blaine Nicholson: “He’s a tough tackle. Having one person on Tate doesn’t mean you’re going to get him on the ground. Tate has gotten a lot better in a lot of different areas. He’s not just going to be lined up at running back. He’ll be at tight end and outside. People know he’s going to get the ball and he can still do what he does.”

When Robinson and Carney line up in the backfield together beside QB Nate Hampton, Davie could have a three-headed monster.

Devericks: “It makes defenses play more honest and more leary of where either one of them are. They could both be in the backfield together.”

Gould: “We know if we get Josh or Tate one-on-one, we think they’re going to win that matchup, especially if we get them out in space against a DB. We definitely don’t expect them to be tackled (in space) by the first guy.”

The amazing thing about Carney’s 24-carry night against East Forsyth: He averaged 6.2 yards per carry against a team that smacked all 15 opponents across the face and hauled off the 4A trophy. The 5-11, 199-pound sophomore already has a scholarship offer from Wake Forest, where brother Cade is a distinguished running back. Tate could have an ego; he doesn’t.

Devericks: “He’s a very humble kid. He just let’s his actions and work ethic speak for him.”

Davie has plenty of depth at RB. Senior Adrian Cranfill and junior MJ Holleman are backups. Both are receivers as well.

Overlook Cranfill (5-8, 175) at your own risk. A fourth-year varsity player, he rushed for 650 yards as a freshman and averaged a team-high 4.6 yards per carry to help the War Eagles claim the CPC and climb to 12-2. In his career, he has 200 carries for 876 yards, 28 receptions and eight rushing/receiving TDs.

Devericks: “Adrian’s capable of playing running back at times if those guys need a break. We look to utilize him in the (kick) return game as well.”