Davie beats Page in football opener

Published 11:40 pm Saturday, August 24, 2019

With its fingertips dug into the side of a cliff, Davie County’s football team held on to beat visiting Page, 28-27, in last night’s season opener.

The War Eagles had a commanding 28-7 lead with five minutes to go, thanks to two touchdowns in a span of 2:03. The Pirates, with help from a fumble and a successful onside kick, scored 20 points in a span of 4:21. Davie spent last year stepping on rakes, suffering eight losses for the first time in school history, and a loss here would have been more than deflating.

But safety Caleb Bowling was money when it mattered most, and Davie celebrated deliriously after knocking off a team that went 46-11 from 2015-18 (not counting three forfeits last year). Bowling denied a two-point pass with five seconds left to nail it down.

“It feels great,” Bowling said. “Before (the two-point play) I said a little prayer in my head.”

“We talked a lot in the offseason about mental toughness, battling the roller coaster and being able to respond when things aren’t going our way,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “I’m proud of our guys for believing.”

With Nate Hampton finding Jack Reynolds for 35 yards on third down, Davie marched 68 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead. The TD came on third down from the Page 3. Hampton wanted to run an option left, nothing was there and he cut back to the middle and plowed into the end zone. Willie Moure added the extra point.

A Page receiver dropped a third-down pass in the end zone, and an Ivan Poag sack on fourth down stopped the Pirates’ second possession.

The Pirates went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2 in the second quarter. Davie stuffed a jet sweep to keep the seven-point lead.

Page would go 2 for 7 on fourth-down tries, failing to convert a fourth-and-1 at the Davie 20. Zach Smith stuffed that one when quarterback Javondre Paige ran up the middle.

Early in the third quarter, Page running back Jeiel Melton fumbled. Gage Recktenwald gathered the loose ball and returned it 40 yards to the Page 15. Three plays later, Josh Robinson scored from 6 yards out to make it 13-0. (A two-point pass failed.)

The next Davie player to come up big on fourth down was cornerback Justice Redmon. On fourth-and-1 from the Davie 5, Page tried a trick play – a running back pass – and it fell incomplete as Redmon knocked it away in the end zone.

Page finally got on the board with 11:01 to play on a 5-yard TD from Paige to Tareek Smith. But Davie had a big answer. Ben Norman, one of the big twins in the trenches along with Bishop Norman, sacked Paige for a 10-yard loss on third down, a punt only traveled 15 yards and Tate Carney sped 52 yards through the heart of Page’s defense for a touchdown. Then Carney tacked on a two-point run to make it 21-7.

Two plays after another Ben Norman sack, Robinson broke a 39-yard TD run. With Davie ahead 28-7 and only 6:04 left, that was supposed to be the hammer blow.

Page’s improbable comeback began with a 61-yard reception by CJ Crump, which set up Cortez Wilson’s 9-yard TD catch. Carney reversed field and had the home fans in awe with a 27-yard run to the Page 15 – but a tackle from behind caused a fumble that Page recovered. Shaw’s 71-yard catch set up Crump’s 6-yard TD grab, and suddenly it was 28-21 with 1:20 to go.

But all Davie had to do was recover the onside kick. It could not. A Pirate came up with the ball at the Davie 39. Page scored again in five plays – on Melton’s first catch of the night with five seconds remaining.

Instead of kicking for overtime, Page coach Jared Rolfes decided to go for two and the win. Paige, who threw for 316 yards and four TDs (all in the fourth), fired over the middle. Davie needed a hero. Bowling, a junior safety who transferred to Davie at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year but wasn’t allowed to participate in athletics, saved the day by knocking it down.

“I’ve been praying about this for a long time,” Bowling said. “I was out for a year and I was ready to come back and make an impact. We were in man-to-man. He was running an over route. I stuck with it, I saw the ball coming and I knew it was my turn to make a play.”

Carney (17 carries for 164 yards) set a career high, after running for 152 yards against Reynolds last year as a freshman. Robinson added eight carries for 76 yards, the running back duo performing just as Devericks envisioned as Davie beat Page for the first time since 2016.

“The maturity and teammate concept of those two played a big role,” Devericks said. “They were feeding off each other. It was tremendous.”there and he cut back to the middle and plowed into the end zone. Willie Moure added the extra point.

A Page receiver dropped a third-down pass in the end zone, and an Ivan Poag sack on fourth down stopped the Pirates’ second possession.

The Pirates went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 2 in the second quarter. Davie stuffed a jet sweep to keep the seven-point lead.

Page would go 2 for 7 on fourth-down tries, failing to convert a fourth-and-1 at the Davie 20. Zach Smith stuffed that one when quarterback Javondre Paige ran up the middle.

Early in the third quarter, Page running back Jeiel Melton fumbled. Gage Recktenwald gathered the loose ball and returned it 40 yards to the Page 15. Three plays later, Josh Robinson scored from 6 yards out to make it 13-0. (A two-point pass failed.)

The next Davie player to come up big on fourth down was cornerback Justice Redmon. On fourth-and-1 from the Davie 5, Page tried a trick play – a running back pass – and it fell incomplete as Redmon knocked it away in the end zone.

Page finally got on the board with 11:01 to play on a 5-yard TD from Paige to Tareek Smith. But Davie had a big answer. Ben Norman, one of the big twins in the trenches along with Bishop Norman, sacked Paige for a 10-yard loss on third down, a punt only traveled 15 yards and Tate Carney sped 52 yards through the heart of Page’s defense for a touchdown. Then Carney tacked on a two-point run to make it 21-7.

Two plays after another Ben Norman sack, Robinson broke a 39-yard TD run. With Davie ahead 28-7 and only 6:04 left, that was supposed to be the hammer blow.

Page’s improbable comeback began with a 61-yard reception by CJ Crump, which set up Cortez Wilson’s 9-yard TD catch. Carney reversed field and had the home fans in awe with a 27-yard run to the Page 15 – but a tackle from behind caused a fumble that Page recovered. Shaw’s 71-yard catch set up Crump’s 6-yard TD grab, and suddenly it was 28-21 with 1:20 to go.

But all Davie had to do was recover the onside kick. It could not. A Pirate came up with the ball at the Davie 39. Page scored again in five plays – on Melton’s first catch of the night with five seconds remaining.

Instead of kicking for overtime, Page coach Jared Rolfes decided to go for two and the win. Paige, who threw for 316 yards and four TDs (all in the fourth), fired over the middle. Davie needed a hero. Bowling, a junior safety who transferred to Davie at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year but wasn’t allowed to participate in athletics, saved the day by knocking it down.

“I’ve been praying about this for a long time,” Bowling said. “I was out for a year and I was ready to come back and make an impact. We were in man-to-man. He was running an over route. I stuck with it, I saw the ball coming and I knew it was my turn to make a play.”

Carney (17 carries for 164 yards) set a career high, after running for 152 yards against Reynolds last year as a freshman. Robinson added eight carries for 76 yards, the running back duo performing just as Devericks envisioned as Davie beat Page for the first time since 2016.

“The maturity and teammate concept of those two played a big role,” Devericks said. “They were feeding off each other. It was tremendous.”