West pounds Davie with ground attack

Published 8:35 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

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By Brian Pitts
Enterprise Record

Four days after pulling victory from the jaws of defeat at Mt. Tabor, not much about Davie’s homecoming game against West Forsyth was magical.
After the euphoric 56-49 at Tabor, Davie’s offense was less than tremendous in a 35-14 loss to the visiting Titans on Friday.
After losing two straight and three of four, West improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference. Playing its second game of the week, Davie stumbled to 5-3, 2-3.
For most of the first half, Davie’s defense did its job. It got a turnover on downs on West’s first possession. John Stokes had a minus-5 tackle. Justin Hayes and Mason Shermer forced West to attempt a 35-yard field goal after it reached the Davie 18, and the low kick was blocked by the Davie line.
It was a frustrating half for the War Eagles on offense. When it was scoreless, they moved from their 32 to the West 6, but they bogged down near the goal line and had to settle for a field goal try from 27 yards on the 15th play of the possession. West blocked Palmer Williams’ kick. Holder Coy James scooped up the ricochet, rolled out and had time to scan the field. He nearly completed a pass on the right side of the end zone.
Early in the second quarter, it appeared the War Eagles were going to get first blood. Alex Summers hit Zymere Hudson for a 54-yard TD, only to see it erased by a holding penalty.
The Titans pounded out a 66-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. Late in the half, Jevante Long broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run. A two-point pass gave West a 15-0 lead at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Long busted 22- and 26-yard runs, the latter giving West a 21-0 lead. (James blocked the extra point.)
The War Eagles were reeling, but Summers’ 18-yard completion to Hudson gave them a spark. Then a 20-yard TD to Hudson on fourth-and-9 gave them reason to believe it wasn’t over. It was now 21-7 with 7:26 left in the third.
West moved the ball on the ground pretty much at will on its next possession, but the Davie defense made a stand. Hayes wrecked a jet sweep – loss of eight – and Stokes batted away a third-down pass. The punter was slow to get the ball away, and Shermer got a piece of it. It looked as if return man Za’Haree Maddox was going to let the ball come to a rest, but then he caught the Titans napping. He rushed it, picked it up and rambled 31 yards to the West 39.
Then Tate Carney went to work. The cannon ball powered for 7, 10, 20 and 9 yards. Davie had first-and-goal at the 1 before going backwards. An 11-play drive turned out fruitless, and Davie was deflated until senior safety Peyton Helton, who has missed most of the season with an injury, got Davie’s blood pumping with a scoop-and-score.
Long was fighting for extra yardage and wound up on top of a War Eagle. The whistle did not blow and the ball popped out. Helton took the recovery 8 yards to the end zone. With 9:18 to go, Davie was back in the game at 21-14.
“It was a CPC game at that point and anyone could win,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said.
“We had some unbelievable adversity down here,” West coach Adrian Snow said. “They said (Long) was on top of another player and then it got knocked out. This is such a game of momentum. When you start feeling it going the other way, you’re like: ‘Oh, gosh.’”
Davie needed a big-time stop from its defense, but it was not to be. The Titans moved the chains on third-and-2 and they scored on a 34-yard run by bruiser Mack David.
You could feel all the hope drain out of Davie on David’s run, and the knockout blow came nine plays later when Markel Summers was hit as an over-the-middle pass arrived. The deflection landed in the hands of Don Robinson, who sped 67 yards with a pick-6 that made it 35-14 with 3:28 left.
It wasn’t a vintage night for A. Summers, who went 18 of 32 for 117 yards. Hudson, one of the last-second heroes against Tabor, was effective with five catches for 72 yards – with the 54-yarder that was called back – but no one else could get open for substantial gains. Davie went 2 for 14 on third downs. Carney needed 23 carries to manage 96 yards as West held the War Eagles to their fewest yards (216) in 28 games.
Credit a ferocious defense. West lost to Reagan, but the margin was only 15-9. By contrast, Reagan whipped Davie 52-14.
West’s defense doesn’t tell but half the story. Its ground game pounded out 385 yards, led by Long’s 236. Chris Van Kleeck, who rotated between quarterback and running back, and David added 83 and 72, respectively, as West controlled the clock and only attempted nine passes.
“They have two good running backs, plus the quarterback, that are tough tackles,” Devericks said. “It really didn’t matter how many guys we tried to add (to the box).”
The outcome spoiled the much-anticipated return of Camden Beck, a fourth-year starter on the offensive line. He suffered a heartbreaking ACL injury on March 27 at Glenn. He stood on the sidelines for nine games. Two-hundred-and-one days later, he was back on the field against Davie’s archrival. That he was back from an ACL tear in less than seven months is truly amazing
“People might say: ‘He made it back from an injury,’” Devericks said. “But they really don’t know the struggle that young man has gone through. I’m super proud of that young man. Look at the struggle his family went through because it was a family ordeal. When something like that happens to your child, you really don’t know how to help them. They got together and attacked it positively.”
Beck hunkered down at left guard. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes to make the Oct. 15 return possible.
“What Cam has done over the course of seven months has been mind-blowing to me,” Devericks said. “For him to work that hard to come back and play his senior year is just phenomenal. He was way ahead of schedule because of the shape he was in before the injury. Not everyone does that (in seven months).”
Devericks characterized Beck as a coach’s dream. When he wasn’t rehabbing, he was coaching teammates. When he wasn’t filming practice, he was picking up equipment.
“Cam is a strong man, but it was still a long row to hoe,” Devericks said. “There wasn’t a workout he missed. He lifted through the whole thing, upper body. He was in pain, but he kept pushing through. He had a goal in mind and nothing was going to deter him.
“He signaled in plays for us when we were down a coach for whatever reason. He has taken the JV offensive line and worked on things with them when the varsity offense was working on something. He never stopped leading.”
Notes: Carney continued his rise in the record book, reaching 1,002 yards for the season and becoming just the second runner in program history to rush for 1,000 yards three times. The other is Justin Brown, who did it from 2002-04. … A. Summers threw a TD pass for the 15th consecutive game, tying Brad Corriher (2004-05) for second in that category. Garrett Benge (2006-07) holds the record at 17. … The Titans, who suffered 37-34 and 36-35 stingers to Davie the past two seasons, got their largest win over Davie in 24 years (41-20 at West in 1997). This was Davie’s largest home loss to West since 28-0 in 1990. … Friday will be Davie’s Senior Night against Parkland (2-6, 1-4) at 7 p.m.