Defense shines in JV football loss

Published 2:33 am Friday, September 30, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie JV football team’s defense delivered a heroic effort against visiting East Forsyth on Sept. 22, but it wasn’t quite enough in narrow 12-7 defeat.

After Davie’s first loss in four games, assistant coach Blaine Nicholson had a glass-half-full view.

“We challenged them on their effort and they really came through,” he said after the defense only allowed one touchdown. “Their offense had some massive dudes up front and they had good skill position guys. Our guys were flying to the ball. They played very inspired.”

The defense came up big all night, starting with East’s first possession after Davie fumbled away the opening kickoff. Shortly after that stop, East’s offense got its lone TD of the game to go in front 6-0.

On the ensuing series, Davie put together a nice drive. Jamarius Pelote’s 11-yard completion to Ethan Driver moved the sticks. Davie picked up 25 yards when Pelote hit Leon Bradshaw for 10 yards with a rousing-the-passer penalty tacked on. Then Bradshaw made the catch of the game for Davie, going up high to reel in an 18-yard fade at the East 3-yard line. On third-and-goal, Pelote hit Bradshaw for what would have been a TD, but it was brought back by a holding flag. Davie’s 12-play drive hit a wall as East maintained the 6-0 lead.

Pelote was intercepted as East set up shop at the Davie 29. But the Fighting Eagles came away empty-handed. On fourth-and-2 at the Davie 5, Luke Wayne and Co. smothered the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage.

East’s only other points came at the end of the half off a Davie turnover. Davie was at its 22 when it fumbled. East scooped and scored with :02 on the clock. That made the halftime deficit 12-0, and that play would come back to haunt the War Eagles.

Davie blocked a punt and took over the ball at the East 42. East was called for pass interference on fourth-and-9. Archer Richardson churned for 15 yards. On third-and-goal at the 13, Pelote faced heavy pressure. He rolled right, escaped and sliced to paydirt. David Patton’s PAT pulled Davie within 12-7 with 6:46 left in the third.

East drove from its 20 to Davie’s 26, but a receiver fumbled and Davie recovered. East started its next possession at the Davie 48, but Davie’s defense came through to force a punt.

“They had to earn everything they got,” Nicholson said. “Unfortunately, we had that fluky fumble. Without that, we win that game 7-6.

“Coaches suggested putting Nathaniel Jordan at the nose instead of a three-technique, and he really went to work tonight. Billy Krause always gets after it. Lane Griffin had a sack. He’s a really good athlete. Jack Boger might weigh 140 playing nose guard, but he’s one of those old-school guys. He just goes hard.”

Both offenses continued to spin their wheels in mud. East started a series with favorable field position – at midfield – but it turned it over on downs at the Davie 31. East got the ball at its 42 with 4:54 to play, but Davie forced another punt. It can’t be overstated how well the defense played.

“They tried to run a lot of outside zone, and the play of our outside linebackers (Landon Waller, Dylan Miller, Christian Boswell, Connor Dixson and Eli Waddell) impressed me,” Nicholson said. “Those guys rotate like crazy.”

The play of the inside linebackers was equally important.

“Josiah Johnson laid some licks,” Nicholson said. “When he makes his read, there’s nobody who’s going to throw his body into the car wreck every single play like he’s going to. He’s a thumper. He’s one of those no-fear guys. Bubby Byington was all over the field, blitzing, playing in (pass) coverage and hustling to the ball.”

The Davie offense’s last gasp came with 2:27 remaining from its 44. On second down, Pelote scrambled but absorbed a big hit. Injured, he walked off slowly.

That meant Bradshaw, the home-run threat at receiver, had to move to quarterback. His first pass fell incomplete and set up fourth-and-12 at the Davie 42, but it looked like Bradshaw might have worn a cape if he’d had more time. On fourth down, he found Isaac Swisher for 13 yards and a first down. After getting sacked, Bradshaw connected with Patton for 11 yards. Patton was shaken up and had to leave the game, but Bradshaw hit Driver for 10 yards to the East 26. It looked like the East defensive back might have hit Driver early on a long pass, but there wasn’t a flag. A Hail Mary fell to the ground to end the game.

Despite being thrust into emergency duty, Bradshaw showed poise in the pocket and fired crisp passes.

“He’s just one of those guys who just needs a few reps here and there at whatever position,” coach Tim Devericks said. “He’s a good all-around athlete. He can step in where the team needs him. He had ice water in his veins.”

It was tough sledding for the War Eagles, who needed 37 rushing attempts to gain 61 yards. Davie was held to 77 passing yards.

“They had two guys in the middle that were pretty dominant forces,” Devericks said of East’s d-line.

Notes: Pelote only managed 47 yards on 23 carries, but he had runs for 7, 8, 13, 15 and 12 yards to sustain a few drives. “He took some hits, but he’ll be alright,” Devericks said. “He’s a tough dude and he’s a competitor. He loves to compete.” … Snapper Richardson, holder Driver and kicker Patton could have been the difference if it weren’t for the scoop-and-score fumble or if Davie could have driven another 26 yards at the end. “Patton has really developed,” Nicholson said. “If I’d told you last year he’d be doing what he’s doing this year, you would have laughed. He’s an athlete. He’s very fast at receiver, but he made up his mind to get better at kicking. He’s gotten immensely better.” … Davie slipped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference.