Davie loses classic at West Forsyth

Published 8:28 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Quarterback Ty Miller played a masterful game and hit West Forsyth with a haymaker with less than five minutes remaining. Receivers Brodie Smith and Evan York made incredible catches. Markel Summers churned out tough rushing yards as the War Eagles went toe-to-toe with West for 48 minutes Friday in Clemmons.

But sports can be cruel. Their heroics were not quite enough in a classic that featured nine lead changes and no lead larger than four points. Davie lost 34-31 in the most heart-wrenching style possible, the Titans scoring the game-clinching TD with :33 on the clock. They survived because running back Caman Chaplin (357 rushing yards) was ridiculously good.

West improved to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference. The War Eagles’ fourth straight loss left them at 2-6, 1-4.

“This one hurts, but it was a phenomenal effort by our guys,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “You hate it for the kids when you come up short like that, when you put it all on the line and battle every play.”

“It means a lot to a lot of people,” West coach Adrian Snow said. “We’ve had to get our kids to understand the lineage of the rivalry, because in their minds it’s kind of shifted to East (Forsyth) and Reagan. Davie’s going to lay it on the line, and tonight we did the same.”

The War Eagles got the ball first, and big completions to York and Bryan Argueta led to three points on Palmer Williams’ 25-yard field goal that capped a 12-play, 73-yard drive. York and Argueta came in averaging about one catch per game, but they exploded on the Titans, combining for 14.

“I think we bring the best out of each other,” Snow said.

West went 80 yards on its first possession. Chaplin accounted for 46 of them and QB Bert Rice went 4 for 4 through the air as West took a 7-3 lead.

The War Eagles responded with their own 80-yard drive. Miller’s 14-yard completion just over a defensive back’s outstretched arm to York was a beauty. Five plays later, York high-pointed a ball and gained 45 yards to the West 12. Miller finished it with a 7-yard TD run.

Seventy-three seconds later, Chaplin was in the end zone. He got outside and blazed 82 yards to put West back in front, 14-10. But Davie’s offense made it five scores in five possessions between the teams by marching 80 yards in 15 plays. Miller passes to Argueta and York moved the sticks on third down, and then Argueta made a 29-yard reception. Three plays later, York made a breathtaking 10-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone as Davie grabbed a 17-14 lead.

“An official said that’s the best catch he’s seen in years,” Devericks said.

“I didn’t know I caught it til I looked up in the air and it was in my hands,” York said. “I looked down and saw the line and I got my elbow in.”

Then the game got a little sloppy. Chaplin lost a fumble. Three plays later, Miller threw an interception. A West punt only traveled 17 yards, but Williams missed a field goal from 33 yards. It appeared to be good, but officials ruled otherwise.

Snow rolled the dice by going for it on fourth-and-1 from the West 29. Chaplin did not just convert the first down, he zoomed 71 yards to give West a 21-17 lead.

Only 2:12 remained in the half, but that was plenty of time for Davie. Miller zipped a pass about 40 yards. A West defensive back jumped the route at the West 25, but whiffed at the pick. That turned into a magnificent moment for Smith, who caught it and raced home for a 56-yard TD that lifted Davie to a 24-21 lead.

West called timeout at the Davie 36 with a couple of seconds left in the half. Alejandro Morillon trotted out for a massive 53-yard field goal attempt. He nearly made it, the ball banging off the left upright.

The halftime numbers were staggering. Miller went 16 of 24 for 272 yards as Davie scored on four of six possessions. Chaplin rolled up 232 rushing yards on 13 carries as the teams combined for 658 yards, 24 first downs and 11 third-down conversions.

“We were taking what the defense was giving us, and there were a bunch of different people making plays,” Devericks said.

“They’ve got good players, too,” Snow said. “Five (Smith), four (Summers) and six (York) are dudes, and they do a good job of protecting (Miller). It makes it tough on you.”

After Williams missed a 39-yard field goal, Rice dumped a screen pass to Chaplin, who got loose for 42 yards. Davie was called for pass interference on third-and-10 and Chaplin scored from 12 yards out to finish an 80-yard drive. Davie blocked the PAT to leave its deficit at 27-24.

The War Eagles desperately needed a stop when West went for it on fourth-and-4 from the Davie 40 late in the third quarter. Their defense rose to the occasion, stacking up Chaplin 2 yards short.

Davie turned it over on downs at the West 20, but Jerred Alexander tackled Chaplin for minus-2 on third down and West had another short punt (18 yards). With 7:43 to play, it was crunch time.

On third-and-8, Miller pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Heavy pressure flushed him out of the pocket and he flipped a Brett Favre-like pass to Summers, who gained 9 yards. Miller faked a handoff to Summers and picked up 15 yards around left end. On third-and-2, Summers used a stiff-arm to gain 3. On third-and-6 from the West 7, Miller threw incomplete in the end zone – but a flag came flying out. Pass interference on West. Instead of fourth down, it was third-and-2 at the 3. Snow was irate.

“There for a minute, I was not myself,” Snow said. “But we responded and that’s all you can ask for.”

On the 12th play of the drive, Miller couldn’t find a receiver, so he took off. A Titan wrapped him up short of the marker. In an incredible breath-holding moment, Miller stayed on his feet, broke loose and scored. Davie had a 31-27 lead.

Davie was in position for its biggest win since last year’s 56-49 barnburner at Mt. Tabor. Alas, 4:49 remained. West put a saddle on Chaplin and rode the 5-10, 165-pound junior all the way down the field. Starting from the West 27, Chaplin churned for 12, 2, 9, 10, 4, 2, 3, 3, 5 and 2 yards to the Davie 1, chewing up nearly all of the clock in the process. Mixed in were Rice completions for 7, 8 and 10 yards. On Chaplin’s 11th carry of the drive, he plunged in for his fourth TD to give West the 34-31 lead. The home side went nuts.   

“There were times we had a hand on him in the backfield, but you need to gang tackle that guy and get multiple hats to the ball,” Devericks said.

“He does a good job of making people miss,” Snow said. “Even when there’s nothing there, he goes.”

Chaplin treasured the moment.

“I fought all the way til the end, and it was truly amazing when I got the (game-winning) touchdown,” he said. “I’ve gotten exponentially better every game I’ve played. If you watch it, you can see it. I’m a dual threat, so they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Davie played out of its mind on offense and came this close to a road upset win. Miller completed 23 passes for 324 yards, added 86 rushing yards and was involved in all four TDs (two rushing, two passing). Smith had eight catches for 113 yards. He suffered a scary fall on the second-to-last play, stayed on the ground for awhile and received a standing ovation when he finally got to his feet. York had five catches for 102 yards and Argueta six for 77. On the ground, Summers pounded out 104 rushing yards on 25 carries.

“I was a bit scared because their wide receivers were doing work,” Chaplin said.

“It was probably the best game we’ve played all year, but it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to,” York said.

Notes: Not only did Chaplin terrorize Davie by averaging 9.3 yards on 38 carries, he had a team-high 56 receiving yards as he accounted for 413 of West’s 507 yards. … Argueta had more receiving yards against West than he had in the previous seven games combined (73). York had a similar outburst. “It was just the way they were trying to pinch the seams and take the seams away from us,” Devericks said. “And then it was Bryan being able to run a full-speed comeback and Ty seeing the corner pinch the seam.” … Miller posted season highs in completions and passing yards. His previous highs (20 completions, 223 yards) came the week before against Tabor. … Davie’s losing streak (four) is its longest since six in 2018. It is 2-6 for the first time since 2013. …Davie plays at winless Parkland (0-8, 0-5) Friday at 7 p.m. The Mustangs have been outscored 310-55. Last year Davie breezed 55-0 in a game that lasted less than two hours.