Can Davie re-create some 2010 magic?
Davie’s football team knocked off West Forsyth when the Titans were 7-0 – the War Eagles remain the only team to beat West – and outscored Reagan when the Raiders were 8-2.
The seventh-seeded War Eagles (7-5) have a chance for another program-changing victory in the second round of the 4A playoffs Friday night at No. 2 East Forsyth (9-2).
This is a rematch between conference rivals. The first meeting was also held in Kernersville on Nov. 1, and the Eagles won 49-35. After Davie scored to tie it at 14, East rattled off 21 unanswered points in four minutes, 11 seconds.
But Davie made East sweat down the stretch. Its rally began after East went ahead 43-21. Tate Carney’s touchdown on third-and-goal at the 1 capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive. Carney’s fifth TD of the game, on another third-and-goal from the 1, capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive and pulled Davie within 43-35 with 4:05 to play.
The defining moment came with East facing third-and-7 from its 26. Robbin Smith busted through tacklers and gained nine yards. That sapped Davie, which watched Smith rip off 25 yards on back-to-back runs, the latter a TD with less than two minutes left.
East’s running game left Davie battered. Fifty-three of its 65 plays were runs, and the result was 455 yards, or 8.5 yards per carry. Smith finished with 167 yards and three TDs. Chris Chaplin, a blur at 155 pounds, had 133. QB Ty Lyles added 70 before leaving in the third quarter with leg cramps.
The loss overshadowed an heroic effort by Carney, who racked up the most rushing/receiving yards (266) this century and scored the most TDs in 13 years.
The War Eagles get a fighter’s chance in the round of 16 because of their offense. They put up 27 first downs and 396 yards at East, and they’re averaging 36 points a game. However, they are allowing 32 points on average, so the defense will have to step up for Davie to win a big-time game like this.
“They got us (on Nov. 1), but we’re not going to worry about that,” junior DB Justus Tatum said. “Coach (Tim Devericks) said everybody’s 0-0 when it comes to playoffs, so we’re not going to worry about records and we’re going to work hard this week.”
“We’re going to have to control C gap,” Devericks said. “The C gap run is something that they continuously hurt us with and were able to keep drives going (while converting 6 of 7 third downs in the second half). Offensively, we have to execute. They’re going to try to man us up, and we’re going to have to find a way to execute.”
The Eagles lead the series 7-2, including wins over Davie in all three meetings since 2017. They are the defending 4A champions, they’re ranked seventh in the state by Massey Ratings – Davie is No. 42 – and they’re a 19-point favorite, with Davie’s win probability at 12 percent.
But far crazier things have happened in Davie’s football history. The War Eagles have a chance to create some magic like 2010. Nine years ago, North Davidson and Mt. Tabor drubbed Davie in the regular season. Davie stunned both in the playoffs, sparking an unbelievable run to the 4A championship game.
“A lot of these coaches sit around and talk about stuff like that in the offseason and we’ll tell them anything can happen,” said Devericks, who was an assistant under Doug Illing in 2010. “These guys were little kids when that occurred, so they don’t really get the full effect of it. But I know they want to keep playing.”
In the final regular-season game in 2010, visiting North Davidson pulled away late to hammer Davie 51-28 on Senior Night. The two were paired a week later in the first round at North. Davie was 5-6, North 9-2. Davie trailed 10-0 at halftime and it was going as most everyone expected. But Illing installed a new smashmouth offense at halftime and everything flipped. Davie scored 35 points in a span of 19:14 and won 35-10.
Davie drew Mt. Tabor in the second round. Four weeks earlier on Davie’s homecoming, the Spartans crushed Davie 34-0. In the rematch, the 11-1 Spartans bolted to a 16-0 first-half lead. The War Eagles did the unthinkable, rallying for a 30-29 overtime win. They went on to beat High Point Central and Porter Ridge and wound up playing on the final day of the season. Unbeaten Hillside made Davie settle for state runner-up, but the ‘10 War Eagles proved anything’s possible in the playoffs.
This will be the sixth in-season rematch in Davie history. The last came in 2016, when Davie’s only two losses came from Dudley. Interestingly enough, the team that lost the first meeting is 4-1 in the second meeting.
4A Playoff Pairings
#8 Seventy-First (7-5) at #1 New Bern (9-2)
#5 Heritage (8-4) at #4 Cardinal Gibbons (9-2)
#6 Scotland (10-2) at #3 Jordan (9-2)
#7 Jack Britt (8-4) at #2 South View (9-2)
#9 Porter Ridge (7-5) at #1 Grimsley (10-1)
#5 Glenn (8-4) at #4 Hickory Ridge (8-3)
#6 Mooresville (7-5) at #3 Ragsdale (5-6)
#7 Davie (7-5) at #2 East Forsyth (9-2)