Ellis football pulls away
Published 10:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021
By Brian Pitts
After blowing out South Davie and Forbush the past two games, the Ellis football team found itself getting challenged in the first half against visiting Oakwood on Oct. 19.
Assistant coach Kendall Chaffin gave the Jaguars a verbal kick in the butt at halftime. They answered the call, sustained their excellence and won 28-14.
“We were in a dogfight,” Chaffin said of the 8-8 first half. “They had just as much talent as we did. I said: ‘We haven’t been in this situation. Are you going to get in a corner and suck your thumb or are you going to come out fighting?’ We came out fighting. We just balled it out in the second half.”
It was a different game in the second half, with Ellis scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 28-8 lead. Although the Nighthawks from Statesville only have one victory in 2021, Chaffin called it a signature win.
“It was highly competitive,” he said. “They had great athletes. That’s probably the best team we’ve played. They had a really good quarterback and running back, but their running back went out in the first quarter with an ankle sprain. Their quarterback and free safety was the real deal. Their speed was unbelievable.
“It’s good for us right before the North Davie game because they ran the same offense and defense as North Davie does.”
The Ellis running game was clicking on all cylinders. Ethan Driver (13 carries for 80 yards with a touchdown), Connor Dixson (10-70, TD), Braxton Bowling (9-66, TD) and Elijah Chaffin (4-40, TD) combined for 256 yards and a 7.1 per carry average.
Chaffin, an inside linebacker, was the leading tackler with 10-plus stops. Dixson and Bowling had 4 each. Driver and Max Cornatzer had 3. Dylan Miller, Evan Helms and J’siere Arnold had two.
“Our linebackers (Dixon and Chaffin in the middle, with Elliott Gould and Bowling on the outside) really stepped up,” Chaffin said. “Elliott is going to be a tough one for Davie. I’m telling you, that kid can flat-out play.”
The unbeaten Jaguars (7-0) are riding their longest winning streak in seven years.