Bigger than football: Davie raising funds for cancer-stricken ND quarterback

Published 9:56 am Thursday, September 2, 2021

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Davie and North Davidson have been rivals since 1967. The long-running series has been as tight as it can get, with the Black Knights holding a 27-25 advantage over 52 meetings on the gridiron.

But before they do battle in Davie’s football home opener on Friday night at 7:30, the War Eagles will recognize someone from the opposing sideline – North quarterback Gavin Hill, who is fighting cancer for the second time.

Hill, a football/baseball athlete, first got cancer five years ago and beat it. Then he found out on Feb. 15, 2021 that he had to fight it again. He has neuroblastoma, a form of cancer rarely found in children over the age of 4. He had to miss the entire spring football season, but after enduring another round of chemotherapy, he’s back on the field as a senior.

A group from Davie has rallied for Hill, raising money to support the family. Lori Smith said the goal was to raise $1,000 and “we hit that on the first day,” she said.

Davie will present a check to Hill before kickoff.

“It’s a core group of guys through the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) – Tate Carney, Camden Beck … there’s nine or 10 of them,” coach Tim Devericks said. “There are a bunch of guys on FCA from this team. It’s bigger than football, especially with what the world is going through right now with troops overseas and what’s going on with those people, and the pandemic we’re facing. It’s a tough time and for these kids to think of something bigger than themselves … life is bigger than football.

“Gavin is traveling back and forth from Charlotte to North Davidson, and he’s been at almost every practice and still trying to compete. Even though we compete on the field, we’re all football brothers and we go through the same things.

“I think it’s close to $2,000 right now. It’s been great support from the community. These young men want to give back and it’s really awesome.”

While Davie is 1-0 after dropping 56 points on West Rowan, the 3-A Black Knights are struggling at 0-2, although both losses were to 4-A opponents (41-19 to Reagan and 43-14 to Northwest Guilford).

Davie has won the past two meetings: 21-14 in 2018 and 42-31 in 2019. The teams did not meet during the COVID-shortened season in the spring.