Coaches praise EW all stars Lyons, Taylor

Published 8:50 am Thursday, July 29, 2021

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie’s Kristian Lyons and Avery Taylor punctuated their prep football careers in style last week, playing in the East-West All-Star Game on July 21 at Jamieson Stadium in Greensboro. Yhe Davie duo helped the West pitch a shutout, 7-0.

As a Davie senior, Taylor, who played defensive line and rush end, paced the War Eagles in tackles for loss (10) and sacks (4). He was sixth in tackles (36) as Davie finished with a 5-2 record.

Even though Lyons missed two games with an injury, the safety was third in solo tackles (36), fifth in total tackles (43) and added four pass breakups. He holds the Davie record for interceptions in a game, picking off three during a 21-14 win over North Davidson in 2018.

“Avery rotated in a lot,” Davie defensive coordinator Blaine Nicholson said. “He made plays here and there. Kristian was in on a bunch of sweep plays, filling the alley like we’re used to seeing. He made a couple special teams tackles as well.”

Lyons always watches film with a coach’s eye, one reason he will play football at the next level.

“He always competed with me with how much film we could watch,” Nicholson said. “On the Hudl app, we can see how much film the kids watch. He always tried to compete with me. He never won, but he put in a lot of hours of film. Kristian is a good athlete, but he’s not a speed burner type of guy. The reason he made all the plays that he did was because he knew where the ball was going, he put in the time and the work and he put himself in position to make plays.”

Lyons will continue his education and football career at Division-II Wingate.

“He’s betting on himself and he’s ready to compete,” Nicholson said. “He’s in really good condition and coaches are high on him. They think he can be versatile – play some corner, some nickel, some safety. He might have to bide his time for a little bit, but I think he’s going to eventually do well.”

As far as football goes, the all-star game was the last hurrah for Taylor. He is easygoing off the field, but he was an “absolute warrior on the field,” Nicholson said.

“I mean, it seems like he broke every bone in his hands and wrists. He was a leader (of the defensive line) by example, but he wasn’t afraid to speak up. He was well respected by everybody because he’s lighthearted with his teammates, but he flipped the switch when it was time to compete. We coached him up on techniques, but he made plays because of his athleticism. There were a lot of mismatches he won. He’s a natural at whatever he does. He tried out for the basketball team and ended up doing really well for those guys. He can pick up a golf club because things come to him naturally.”

Lyons and Taylor became the 21st and 22nd Davie football players to play in the East-West game. The first 20: John Grimes (1961), Ed Bowles (1962), Ronnie Spry (1966), Edgar Osborne (1967), Randall Ward (1967), Fred Bailey (1968), Allan Barger (1970), Chris Jacobs (1984), Andre Frost (1989), Sam Stovall (2003), Ryan Boehm (2005), Reshaun Parks (2006), Garrett Benge (2008), James Mayfield (2009), Zach Long (2010), Adam Smith (2012), Ben Ellis (2016), Chris Reynolds (2017), James Boyle (2017) and Cody Hendrix (2018).