Five turnovers cost JVs

Published 10:12 am Thursday, November 14, 2019

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The Davie JV football team committed five turnovers in a rain-soaked season finale at Reagan on Nov. 7. That’s a sure-fire way to lose.

“We played the worst game we’ve played all year,” coach Perry Long said after a 21-14 setback.

The Raiders, who started 7-0 before losing 42-21 to East Forsyth and 62-41 to West Forsyth, finished 8-2 overall and 3-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference. The War Eagles, whose game against East was rained out and not rescheduled, finished 7-2, 2-2 while playing their first game in 14 days.

Two of the turnovers gave Reagan the ball deep in Davie territory. The giveaways set up two of Reagan’s three touchdowns and overshadowed Brodie Smith’s rushing performance.

“Those are heartbreakers,” Long said. “That’s frustrating for the defense. We got an interception and then we turned it right back over to them. The celebration didn’t last long on the sideline.”

The Raiders grabbed a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, and it remained that way through the third quarter. After Reagan went up by two scores, Davie climbed back to 14-6. But Reagan answered to make it 21-6. Davie got within 21-14, but less than a minute remained and Reagan recovered the onside kick to seal it.

Smith went off for 140 rushing yards on 18 carries. The freshman got better as the season progressed. After averaging 1.9 yards per carry on his first 38 attempts over a span of five games, he averaged 5.7 yards on his final 56 runs. Smith’s load was expanded when DeVonte Lyerly was pulled up to varsity, and he answered the bell.

“That dude played excellent,” Long said. “Some of the moves and cuts he made were big-time reads, man. The thing I like about him so much, he doesn’t say a whole lot and he can play anywhere. You can play him at receiver or running back. He’s got good hands. He’s just an athlete.”

Alex Summers threw for 127 yards to extend his streak of 100-yard games to 14. His main target was Isaiah Lytton (four catches for 68 yards). Smith (2-25) and Aidan Froelich (2-18) had two receptions each. Ethan Silvey had one for 16 yards.

While the offense had a subpar night, the defense held up its end of the bargain.

“They played hard,” Long said. “We had some missed assignments, but they got after them. We just stayed on the field so much.”

“We had some turnovers that backed us up deep, and in those situations it’s really hard to keep points off the board,” defensive coordinator Blaine Nicholson said. “We answered the bell a bunch of times, but the more something happens the more likely they’re going to have some success. We probably had six bad plays out of the 40-50 that we had. It was a really good effort.”

When it was 6-0 late in the third with Reagan threatening, linebacker Jadon Davis intercepted a screen pass.

“Jadon had a couple of splash plays,” Nicholson said. “His interception was a big-time play.”

Freshmen Willie Purvis (cornerback) and Logan Yokley (safety) and sophomores Mark Dixon (d-lineman) and Blake Jenkins (safety) also earned praise.

“We had Willie back for the first time in a long time,” Nicholson said. “He was targeted four times and they had no completions against him. We’re really excited about him.

“Logan did a good job of filling the alley and had a bunch of tackles. He’s not what you would call the standout athlete. We were talking about him after the game – how is he able to keep making plays? He’s just got really good want-to. He just has a nose for the ball.

“Nobody on the JV level can handle Mark. He’s a stud. We have four seniors (on the varsity DL), and Mark’s going to have to be the dude next year. We’re going to have to build the (2020 DL) around him.

“We made adjustments at halftime and Blake had a couple big plays after halftime. He made plays on special teams, too. We won the special teams battle.”

Although the War Eagles lost a little luster in the final hour, it was a big season as a whole. They recorded the most wins in nine years.

Long: “I said: ‘Guys, we had a heck of a year. Yes, it hurts. But my goal for you guys is to get in the weight room, get stronger and stay together. When you look back in two years, you’ll be playing for a conference championship.’ That’s how you have to look at it.”