Davie wins slugfest at Tabor, 56-49
Published 8:31 am Thursday, October 21, 2021
By Brian Pitts
Davie’s football team yielded 49 points and won. That’s not supposed to happen. (It was 1-22 all-time when allowing 49 or more.) Alex Summers, Tate Carney, Zymere Hudson and the offense made it happen.
Mt. Tabor scored on seven of 11 possessions and gained 511 yards of offense. The Spartans were trumped by the War Eagles, who scored on eight of 11 possessions, including the last six, and gained 629 yards.
The slugfest Monday, Oct. 11 at Tabor saw Davie escape 56-49, the go-ahead points coming on a Summers-to-Hudson pass with only 21 seconds remaining. After losing consecutive games to East Forsyth and Reagan, Davie improved to 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference and revived its hopes for a playoff berth. Tabor, which captured the 3AA state title last spring, slipped to 3-3, 1-2. The game was postponed Oct. 8 because of rainy weather.
“We try to get the kids to understand that each week is a new week,” said coach Tim Devericks, who was in a walking boot and had to watch from atop the press box because of a serious ankle injury. “You have to find a way to move on. We were able to focus on the task at hand.”
The game was nuts, neither team leading by more than seven.
Summers’ 21-yard pass to Za’Haree Maddox, when he barely got the pass off with a blitz in his face, set up the game’s first score. Tabor converted three third downs and drove 80 yards to tie it 7-7. Davie’s next scoring drive was a mere two plays – Hudson’s 46-yard reception on a go route and Carney’s 11-yard run in which he eluded a defender in the backfield.
At 14-7, this would be Davie’s last lead until the final seconds. The Spartans marched 74 yards to tie it and took advantage of busted coverage to grab a 21-14 lead, the latter being a 77-yard pass play.
When Summers squeezed a pass between two defenders and Hudson went up, absorbed contact and brought in a 27-yard catch, Davie was at the Tabor 1. Carney capped a seven-play, 76-yard drive in which Davie did not face third down, and it was 21-21 at halftime.
The second half began with Tabor at its own 20; it scored in nine plays to regain a 28-21 lead. The War Eagles responded with an 80-yard drive of their own. Hudson reached up to haul in a 23-yarder, and Carney pounded out 7, 14, 6 and 5 yards before Davie faced third-and-7 at the Tabor 11. Tabor blitzed, Summers retreated to buy some time and hit cousin Markel Summers, who had leaked out of the backfield. The completion was good for 10 yards to the 1. M. Summers scored on the next play, but a botched extra point left Tabor ahead 28-27.
“We wanted to release the back to open up the window to Za’Haree on a slant, but the linebacker ended up blitzing and Alex saw it,” Devericks said. “He knows he’s got to buy a little time for Markel to get his head around.”
The Spartans kept their foot on the gas, with five of seven plays going for 10-18 yards on another 80-yard drive. When they scored and made the kick, it was 35-27.
Back came the War Eagles, who took it 80 yards on 13 plays, including three conversions on third down. Hudson left his feet to make a 25-yard catch. On third-and-8, Maddox caught a 14-yarder as he was falling down. On third-and-4, A. Summers fooled the whole defense by faking a handoff to M. Summers, keeping it and scoring from 10 yards out. It was the first rushing TD of his varsity career.
“That’s a read on every run play we have,” Devericks said. “Alex just made the read on that play and went around the left end.”
Davie went for two and got it on a pass to Evan York.
It wasn’t 35-35 for long. On the first play of the next series, Davie’s defender in deep center field lost his footing as he tried to break up a pass, and the receiver pulled it away and galloped 85 yards. When the extra point try was wide left, the Tabor lead was 41-35.
An onside kick did not work, so Davie got the ball at midfield. On third-and-3, M. Summers fought for 3 yards. On third-and-5, Maddox secured a 10-yard catch even though he was popped as the ball arrived. Carney took care of the last 10 yards – this gave him four TDs and another would follow – and Palmer Williams’ kick was true to give Davie a 42-41 lead.
More drama would come. The Spartans only needed six plays to negotiate 80 yards, scoring on a 35-yard screen pass. Tabor made a diving catch on a two-point play to give the hosts a 49-42 lead.
“We had a (blitz) call on; we were trying to heat them up,” Devericks said of the TD. “They got numbers out there and created a seam for that guy.”
For the second time in a row, Tabor tried an onside kick. This time it worked. Oh, wait. A Spartan was offsides and Davie’s return team got a mulligan. This time Tabor’s kicker executed a pooch kick perfectly. If Tabor recovers the ball, Davie barely has a pulse. M. Summers kept his team alive by flying up and jumping on the ball.
“Markel made a phenomenal play,” Devericks said. “It checked up like a pitching wedge. Markel had to make a diving recovery.”
The Davie offense came through again. On third-and-7, M. Summers knifed through the teeth of Tabor’s defense for 7 yards. On third-and-8, a Spartan intercepted A. Summers, but a roughing-the-passer penalty gave Davie new life.
A. Summers handed the ball to Carney the next three plays, and he churned for 3, 5 and 4 yards to the end zone.
With Tabor ahead 49-48 and 1:57 to go, it was decision time for Devericks, who could kick for the tie for go for two and the lead. He kept his offense on the field and A. Summers tried a slant to Maddox. But Tabor was ready for it, the pass falling incomplete.
“Both sides were getting extremely tired,” Devericks said of the decision to go for two.
Even with three timeouts in their pocket, the War Eagles were in serious trouble. They had to ask a defense that had come up with three three-and-outs in three games to deliver a three-and-out. First, Williams did his part by kicking it into the end zone for a touchback.
“It was kind of a gamble to kick it deep, but our defense rose to the occasion,” Devericks said.
On first down, Blake Jenkins set the edge and Jadon Davis dropped the ball carrier for a 1-yard gain. Timeout.
“They were trying to run their outside zone, and Blake forced it back inside and Jadon was able to find a crease in the cutback and make a good play in the hole,” Devericks said.
On second down, Matty Warner provided backside pursuit and again Davis made the stop after a gain of 5. Timeout.
“We shut the front side off and Matty had great pursuit on the backside,” Devericks said.
On third-and-4, Tabor called a bootleg pass. It was complete, but an off-target pass forced the receiver to adjust and lose his balance. Result: 2-yard loss. Justin Hayes was all over the play. Davie used its third and final timeout.
“They went back to a play that they had run multiple times,” Devericks said. “I had a feeling they were going to try to give their quarterback a run/pass option. We had a guy (Hayes) in hot pursuit of the guy in the flats.”
When Tabor punted, the War Eagles had the ball at their 31 with 72 seconds with which to work. The ensuing drive was a work of art, maybe because the core of this offense is accustomed to harrowing experiences. (Last spring, Davie won 62-43 over Reynolds, 49-40 over Reagan and 36-35 in overtime over West Forsyth, with a 53-46 loss to Glenn mixed in.)
“I like our chances anytime we have that situation,” Carney said. “Our offense is built to score, and score fast, and we’re always very confident that we can do it.”
On third-and-8, A. Summers connected over the middle to Carney, who lunged for the marker. First down.
“It was a route we have him run a lot, but it’s usually not there,” Devericks said. “But they were trying to take the sidelines away to keep us inbounds. At that point, you’re thinking get the first down and we can worry about time later.”
The next three plays were completed passes, but they only netted 6 yards. Now it’s fourth-and-4.
“Sometimes I think they do better in that situation (no timeouts) because they’re in the flow of the game and don’t have to think about the ramifications of what’s about to happen,” Devericks said.
Maddox ran a hitch route, A. Summers calmly hit him for 5 yards and Maddox got out of bounds. First down at the Tabor 47 at :32.
Then came a fairytale finish. Hudson went down the left seam. With ice water in his veins, A. Summers whipped a pass through a tight window. When the ball reached Hudson at the Tabor 25, a safety and two cornerbacks were within four yards of the 6-1 receiver. When Hudson split two defenders, he was gone.
Devericks said: “Alex felt good with what he saw on the back end of the defense and made a throw. I still don’t know how it got between those guys. What a great throw and catch – and good blocking up front to give him time. Zymere looked it in and finished the deal.”
A. Summers: “They had the same dude covering Zy all game. He couldn’t guard him. I saw the safety come over at the last second. It got there – barely.”
Hudson: “I saw the safety out of the corner of my eye, but I never knew exactly how close he was because I never took my eyes off the ball. The window was really tight. It was a great throw.”
The Spartans, who averaged 9.6 yards per play but ran 37 fewer plays than ball-control Davie, got 388 passing yards and five TDs from junior Semaj Reaves-Smith, who completed 21 of 27. His main targets were junior Jamarien Peterkin (10 catches, 207 yards) and freshman Shamarius Peterkin (5-115 receiving). Senior Noah Marshall (20 carries, 117 yards) did damage on the ground.
The defense was gritty at the end, but Davie won a street fight through a courageous offensive effort that produced 33 first downs and went 18 for 23 on third- and fourth-down conversions.
A. Summers was a masterful 33 of 43 for 363 yards, setting a program record for completions. Hudson was huge was nine catches for 183 yards, and the sight of him scoring a long TD at :21 created a special memory.
“Zymere was catching balls in traffic and attacking the ball in the air,” Devericks said. “He knew there was going to be contact and he concentrated on the catch. It all starts with his release. He was getting good releases off the line.”
Hudson’s improvement from last spring, when he had 10 catches for 144 yards in seven games, is inspirational. This game left him at 36-639 with eight TDs.
“I feel like I’ve been the same player, but experience has a lot to do with it,” Hudson said. “Being behind Jack (Reynolds) for two years taught me how to be the man.”
Carney helped twist Tabor’s defense into knots, rushing for 204 yards and catching seven passes for 62 yards. The other half of the dynamic duo out wide was Maddox (11-67 receiving). M. Summers helped the cause with 57 rushing yards.
Notes: The only other time Davie gave up 49 points and won was 50-49 in overtime at Page in 2008. … Carney scored five TDs for the fourth time in his career. … A. Summers broke Nate Hampton’s record for completions in a game. Hampton had 31 twice. … This was Summers’ second-most passing yards, trailing a record 430 from earlier this season. … P. Williams went 4 for 4 on extra points, making him 37 for 38 on the year, and averaged 42 yards on two punts. His 37.1 average is tied for third in punting records that date to 1980. … Hudson had the ninth-most receiving yards in a game. … The offensive line of Spencer Williams, Brysen Godbey, Charlie Frye, Ethan Doub and Evan Froelich had perhaps their best game. “Considering the guys they were having to block, who were enormous, they did a wonderful job of staying square on them and letting Tate use his vision and athleticism,” Devericks said.