Davie 49, Reagan 32
Davie County, after facing the real possibility of tumbling from first place on Oct. 18 to fifth place on Nov. 8, recaptured its magic at the 11th hour and pulled out an outrageous shootout against visiting Reagan, 49-42, on Friday night.
The highs and lows of the regular-season finale mirrored Davie’s crazy season. The War Eagles jumped to a 20-7 lead before trailing 42-34 with a little over three minutes left. With their backs against the wall, they scored two touchdowns in a span of 2:39 to nail down a share of second place in the high-profile Central Piedmont Conference.
Talk about a tremendous way to respond to consecutive losses to Glenn and East Forsyth. Talk about a gutsy effort on a night when Davie committed 16 penalties for 198 yards.
The Raiders slipped to 8-3. Davie improved to 6-5 after going 2-9 and finishing dead last in 2018. (It was officially 3-8 due to a forfeit.) West Forsyth captured the title at 4-1. Glenn, East Forsyth and Davie tied for runner-up at 3-2. Reagan was fifth at 2-3.
The Raiders, who scored TDs on their first five possessions of the second half, were amazing behind 6-3, 210-pound senior quarterback Gabriel Hollingsworth, who rushed for 107 yards and passed for 235 as he averaged 8.2 yards per carry and 19.5 yards per completion. They put up 25 first downs and 542 yards.
Reagan’s offense was great. Davie’s was better. Quarterback Nate Hampton engineered an attack that delivered 33 first downs and 604 yards. The junior triggerman went 31 of 40 for 397 yards, tying his own school record for completions. His passing yards are third-most in Davie annals; he also owns the second and fourth spots in that category.
Do-everything Tate Carney was at it again, rushing for 141 yards and five TDs and adding 72 receiving yards. It was his second straight five-TD gem. Receiver Jack Reynolds, who makes big plays look routine, had nine catches for 113 yards, including the game-winner with 23 seconds left.
And then there’s Za’Haree Maddox. After only managing 73 receiving yards across four games, the sophomore turned in an eight-catch, 168-yard outburst. He also caught a critical game-tying, two-point conversion with 3:02 to play.
Davie scored on its first three possessions to grab the 20-7 lead. The only time it failed to convert a possession into points in the first half came with 14 seconds left in the half, when Willy Moure’s 25-yard field goal banged off the right upright.
The Raiders, down by 13 at intermission, came out breathing fire in the third quarter. Tazhae Woods’ 89-yard catch-and-run cut Davie’s lead to 20-14. When Hollingsworth scored on an eight-yard run, it was 27-21 Reagan. Carney leaped over the pile for a 1-yard score to restore a 34-21 lead for Davie, but Reagan was in the end zone 26 seconds later after covering 61 yards on back-to-back runs by Bryson Canty.
The game’s only turnover came moments later, when Jon Gullette picked off Hampton at the Reagan 47. Woods ran in on third-and-goal from the 3 and the PAT gave Reagan a 35-34 lead.
After sacking Hampton on back-to-back plays, Reagan rolled 59 yards on five running plays to take the 42-34 lead.
With only 4:05 remaining, with Davie needing not only a touchdown but also a two-point conversion, it looked bleak for the home team on Senior Night.
But Hampton wouldn’t let his team die. On third-and-4, he burned a heavy blitz by rumbling up the middle for a 37-yard score. Before that electric play, his longest run in two years was 25 yards. That set up the vital two-point play, in which Hampton whipped a slant to Maddox to tie the game at 42.
A Davie defense had been gashed most of the night bowed up when it counted most, stuffing a run and forcing two incompletions. Reagan punted and Davie took over at its 25 with 1:23 left.
After Hampton hit Zymere Hudson for six yards, Carney ran for 13. Then Hampton hooked up with Maddox for eight yards and Carney for 22. Then Hampton hit Reynolds over the middle, and the ultra-reliable receiver shook free for a 26-yard TD as Davie took the 49-42 lead with :23 to go.
Hollingsworth tried two Hail Marys, the first drawing a pass interference and setting up an untimed down with zeroes on the clock. He unleashed the second one from the Davie 33. Davie senior Justice Redmon caught it in the back of the end zone. He was out of bounds, but it hardly mattered. The War Eagles had collapsed before rising up for a breathtaking win.
Notes: Reagan had its own penalty problems (13 for 118 yards). … Davie is 4-4 in games decided by seven points or less. … Evan Little was clutch with three catches. … Hampton’s game-winning TD pass was his 20th of the year but his first in 12 quarters. … Avery Taylor was a defensive star for Davie. In the second quarter, he sacked Hollingsworth and caused a fumble that Reagan recovered. The the next play, he slammed into Hollingsworth to force an incompletion.