Carney leaves carnage in Welcome
WELCOME – Davie and North Davidson raced up and down the field Friday night like kids playing football in the back yard until their parents called them in for dinner. The touchdowns kept piling up, one after another, until there were 10 in all.
After finding themselves behind 23-15 in the second half, the visiting War Eagles went on blistering 27-0 run and pulled out a 42-31 shootout for their first win in Welcome since 2011.
Davie is 2-0 for the first time since the Chris Reynolds/Cooper Wall/James Boyle/Cody Hendrix days of 2016. The Black Knights, the defending 2AA runner-ups, slipped to 0-2 for the first time since 2006.
Coach Tim Devericks said: “We were in every game last year; we just couldn’t finish. We talked about mental toughness all offseason. We’ve been mentally tested in these two games (including a 28-27 win over Page), and they’re battling with each other.”
Davie ended a three-game losing streak in Welcome, the last win there coming in 2011 when Doug Illing was coach.
Defensive tackle Ben Norman: “It feels amazing. We came back and showed them how to play a four-quarter game.”
Left tackle Camden Beck: “We’re already at the amount of wins we had last year. Last year we would have blamed each other. This year we’ve come together and we’re playing as a team. Whole different mentality, and it’s amazing to be a part of it.”
There were remarkable offensive numbers on both sides. North gained 421 of its 477 yards through the air as senior quarterback Landon Moore completed 25 of 43 attempts with four TD passes. Jamarien Dalton (10 catches for 170 yards) and Mason Everhart (8-196) combined for 366 receiving yards.
Davie overrode the North trio because running back/receiver Tate Carney and QB Nate Hampton had games for the ages. Putting his jukes, power and pure speed on full display, sophomore Carney rushed for 119 yards, had 138 receiving yards and scored three TDs. Hampton threw for 340 yards and four TDs (to four different guys). He also rushed for 53 yards as Davie put up its highest point total in 20 games.
North got the ball to start the game and moved 64 yards in 12 plays. Although the War Eagles allowed four TDs and 20 first downs, they made their share of clutch plays. The final three plays of that opening series: Avery Taylor tackled running back Jaylin Walser for no gain; Matthew Hill stopped receiver Dalton a yard short on third down; and on fourth-and-1 from the Davie 26, end Zach Smith was the first to meet Moore on a QB sneak. He got help from Gage Recktenwald and Hill as Moore was dropped for minus-1.
Devericks: “We talked all week about the quarterback sneak – when (Moore) goes back, fakes and comes back under center – and being able to check and pinch in there.”
Five plays later, Hampton’s bomb was hauled in by Jack Reynolds for a 41-yard TD. From the muddle-huddle set, Reynolds completed a two-point pass to Smith for an 8-0 lead.
After Kendred Tetter picked off Hampton inside the North 5 – it was Hampton’s only turnover on 27 pass attempts – busted coverage led to Everhart’s 73-yard TD reception.
Less than four minutes later, Davie sophomore receiver Zymere Hudson introduced himself in dazzling style. Hampton hit him on a post route. Hudson broke a tackle, made another man miss and scored a 47-yard TD on his first varsity catch.
Hampton: “He was working so hard this offseason and he deserves it.”
Coaches talked glowingly about Hudson during preseason. Devericks: “The cool thing about it is, when I see guys make plays like that, their teammates get excited for them.”
Hudson flashed a megawatt smile, saying: “Oh my God, it was amazing. I just did everything I could with it. And it wouldn’t have happened without that amazing block from (receiver) Za’Haree Maddox.”
After Kristian Lyons nearly intercepted Moore inside the Davie 5, North’s Jake Marion drilled a 33-yard field goal to cap an 11-play, 66-yard drive and cut Davie’s halftime lead to 15-10.
After nickel and diming Davie’s defense with underneath stuff in the early going, Moore hit a string of big plays early in the third quarter. Dalton burned Davie on back-to-back plays, a 39-yard fade and a 13-yard TD in the left corner of the end zone. On the next North possession, Moore’s 63-yard bomb to Everhart gave the Black Knights 16 unanswered points in a span of 6:52 and the 23-15 lead with 5:58 remaining in the third.
Devericks: “(Dalton’s) a tremendous athlete. He’s a tough player to defend. They had some motions and switch routes that were getting them into open space. A lot of our pressure wasn’t able to get home tonight because (Moore) was getting it out before we could get there. He’s very accurate and made some great throws.”
On the first play from scrimmage following Everhart’s 63-yarder, Carney turned the game in spectacular fashion. Hampton sold a screen pass by looking right. He turned left and dumped it to Carney, who broke a tackle at the Davie 40 and ran like his momma was chasing him with a stick. The 80-yard TD cut the deficit to 23-21 (the PAT was wide right) and sparked the 27-0 run.
Devericks: “They were pressuring us a lot (up the middle), and we had to find a way to alleviate the pressure. We talked about getting the ball to (Carney) in a check-down situation. We had to get the ball out quick and get them out of their pressure package. We had a bunch of guys making plays on the outside, but that was a special play.”
Hampton: “Every time Tate gets the ball, you don’t know what he’s about to do. You saw that tonight. He’s a dog in about everything he does.”
Carney: “I had to hide in there and make sure they didn’t see me. We caught them by surprise. It was a great play call. We had the crowd on our side, the defense stepped it up big and it was awesome to see it play out like it did.”
Ben Norman and Trevor Richardson combined on a sack as North punted after four plays. Then Davie wrong-footed North’s defense with its empty package (no one in the backfield other than Hampton). After Davie gained 33 yards on a pass to Carney with a 15-yard North penalty tacked on, Hampton ran a draw play for 13 yards to the North 6. Then Beck’s block allowed Carney to break outside and score untouched. With 13 points in 3:39, Davie had regained a 28-23 lead.
Devericks: “We’ve repped (the empty formation) a lot. Our defensive coaches are probably happy because they’re probably tired of seeing it in practice. To be able to execute that in a critical part of the game and change their mindset on defense was tremendous.”
Hampton: “(Offensive coordinator Matt) Gould’s always got something up his sleeve. He knows what he’s doing.”
Carney: “We’ve been working on everything. We’ve been trying to open it up for receiving and rushing, and Nate did a great job.”
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Davie’s defense came up with its second huge stop. On fourth-and-inches from the Davie 31, running back Darain Green was stoned up the middle by Hunter Meacham, Smith and Bishop Norman. Page and North went for it 10 times on fourth down. Seven times they failed.
Smith: “I think we had three fourth-down stops in the red zone against Page, and we had two big stops tonight.”
On fourth-and-10 from the North 46, the Davie offense stayed on the field, but the plan was for Hampton to pooch punt. A high snap forced him to improvise. He scrambled for six seconds before dumping it off to Reynolds, who scampered all the way to the house. A penalty erased the score, but Davie still had a crucial first down at the North 26. Then Hampton fired a TD in the back left corner of the end zone to Evan Little to extend the lead to 35-23.
Devericks: “I’m super happy for Evan to come through and make that play.”
Hampton: “The corner tried to slide toward Jack, so I thought I might as well throw it up to Evan. I knew he was going to come down with it.”
Moore was finally picked off on his 39th pass by safety Caleb Bowling, who returned it 17 yards to the North 15. On the next play, center Jared Simpson and right guard Merritt Killian sprung Carney loose up the gut. He carried two defenders the last five yards to paydirt, Davie’s second TD in 62 seconds. Now it was 42-23 with 6:21 to play.
On the next play from scrimmage, Bowling had a 32-yard pick-6 wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty. Dalton capitalized on the flag moments later, turning a fade route into a 61-yard TD. Everhart’s reception on the two-point play cut Davie’s lead to 11, and North kept the suspense alive by recovering the onside kick – the second time in two games that has happened to Davie’s kick-return unit.
But here’s the bottom line for Davie’s defense: It refused to fold, never lost focus and made big plays when they were needed. With four minutes left, Lyons sealed it with an interception at the Davie 28.
Devericks: “Our defensive staff realized they were throwing a lot of switch combination routes and our guys’ eyes were going a lot of places. We simplified it for them in the second half and let them get to a drop, read the ball and make plays on it.”
The War Eagles beat North for the second straight year. It’s hard not to feel like things have changed after going 2-9 on the field in 2018.
Left guard Tanner Batten: “Man, the step up from last year to this year has been crazy. The feeling is like a shockwave hitting you, and I love that feeling.”
• Davie’s defense was again lights out against the run. The Page and North ground games averaged 1.3 yards per rush. … Ben Norman made a magnificent play on a jet sweep. He stripped the ball carrier and started rumbling the other way. Devericks: “Unreal. I was joking with him at halftime that he thought he was an athlete (on the fumble return). You love to see the drills that you work on in practice come to fruition.” … Hill had 13 team-high tackles. Lyons had eight tackles and four pass breakups. Bowling was next with seven tackles. Smith had three tackles for loss and two caused fumbles. Taylor had two tackles for loss, while Bowling, Ben Norman, Bishop Norman, Paul Pollard and Meacham had one each. Devericks: “Taylor made a huge play that didn’t result in anything. He came underneath on a quick pitch play. He caused a fumble but we weren’t able to get it.” … Kicker Willie Moure went 4 for 5 on PATs. … Of Davie’s 517 yards, 108 came from Reynolds, who had six catches.