‘Cats complete 4-0 football run
By Brian Pitts
This was easy to see coming. South Davie’s football team is down this year. North Davie was awfully good.
The Wildcats’ first helpless victim was Starmount on Feb. 25. They never released the vice grip, crushing South 54-0 to cap a 4-0 season. North hosted the game on March 17.
“I feel this is the most athletic team that I’ve had,” North coach Timmy Allen said. “Last year’s team was really athletic, but this year’s was more athletic from top to bottom. We had 18 eighth graders (out of 26).”
One week after handing Ellis the worst loss in the Jaguars’ 14-year history (44-0), North dealt the Tigers the worst loss in their 28-year history as a middle school. (Their largest defeat before this was 30-0 to High Point Christian in 2018.)
Outscoring opponents 168-0, North achieved a 4-0 record for the first time in 14 years.
“It’s a COVID year, just four games and we were trying to keep the shutout (streak) going,” Allen said. “I’ve been smacked around by Ellis and South Davie. I’ve been at North for nine years and I’ve only beaten South twice.”
Quarterback Coy James has been routinely spectacular, and this game was no different. He had 171 passing yards, 44 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards and racked up five touchdowns (three passing, one rushing, one receiving).
The receiving TD was something different for James, who caught a 35-yard pass from Braxton Hunter, who took a pitch from a running back on North’s version of the Philly Special.
“We put it in a while back and we wanted to run it,” Allen said. “The season is so short and we hadn’t had a chance to run it, so we threw it out there. I didn’t even know it was coming; Drew (Kakouras, offensive coordinator) called it. They actually covered it well. Coy just broke a tackle.”
North had weapons all over the place. Among them were Landon King (43 receiving yards), Carson Queen (two catches for 54 yards), Ryley Shermer (72 receiving yards, 11 carries for 75 yards, two TDs) and Brady Marshall (five catches, TD, two two-point conversions).
One of Shermer’s scores was on a screen pass. His yards after the catch were highlight-reel stuff.
“They were bringing some heat, so we dialed up a screen,” Allen said. “The offensive line did a good job selling it. Ryley broke four or five tackles. South’s kids had good angles on him, but he fought through the tackles. It was unbelievable.”
While the Wildcats averaged 42 points per game, their season-long defensive efforts were equally remarkable. In this one, Queen (two tackles for loss, sack), Brett Foster (two tackles for loss), Connor Hood (tackle for loss) and King (tackle for loss) were the standouts.
“Brett made play after play at defensive end,” Allen said. “He’s one of the smallest kids out there, but he is tough as nails. He was taking on kids twice his size and playing the end position exactly how we wanted him to play it. They stopped running to his side.
“Carson and Ryley light it up at linebacker. They play real fast downhill. I mean, holes would open up and they would step in and fill it. We had d-linemen that were disruptive, but the linebackers stepped up all year. They were game-changers.”
Notes: South dropped to 0-3 with one game remaining. … North stopped a four-game losing streak in the series, beating South for the first time since a 14-0 decision in 2015.
Ellis 24, Forbush 14
Archer Richardson, who accounted for 16 points while scoring two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions, was the inspiration, and the Ethan Driver/Jackson Powers air combination was the dagger as the Jaguars picked up a very satisfying win one week after getting hammered by North.
The game was played at Ellis on March 17.
Richardson only needed 12 carries to accumulate 125 yards rushing. “And they were some tough yards,” assistant coach Mike Dinkins said. “He had two runs for 20-plus yards, but it was (mostly) tough yards up the middle and off-tackle.”
Ellis (2-1) was ahead 16-8 when the Falcons threatened to draw within two or tie. They scored on a 25-yard play, but it was brought back by a clipping penalty. A sack and an incompletion followed as Ellis remained in front by eight.
“It could have easily been 16-16,” Dinkins said.
Forbush did pull within 16-14, but Ellis had a decisive answer. With 1:42 remaining, Driver threw an 18-yard TD to Powers to seal the deal.
Running behind linemen John Holcomb, Nathaniel Jordan, Christian Boswell, Isaac Sherman and Cooper Williams and tight end Powers, the Jags got 42 yards on seven carries from Skylar Whittington and 30 yards on five carries from Driver.
“We had 200 rushing yards,” Dinkins said. “We definitely controlled the ball.”
Among the defensive leaders were Connor Dixon, Richardson, Powers, Jordan, Williams and Cade Jones.
“Connor made several key plays,” Dinkins said. “He knocked down a long pass that they thought they were going to catch when it was 16-8. Jackson had several tackles for losses.”