Davie Football: ‘Next big thing’ expected from inside linebackers

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Sports Editor

There are uncertainties at inside linebacker. Seniors Zack Banks and Ian Boger were backups in 2022, so they’re untested in terms of playing big minutes. Junior Archer Richardson was a JV running back last year. The other inside linebacker, Elijah Chaffin, is a freshman.

That’s a position full of inexperience. There are bound to be at least a few rough edges to develop through. The good news is Davie has a terrific group of defensive linemen who should make all the inside linebackers better.

“I feel a lot better than I did in the spring,” coach Tim Devericks said. “Some of those guys are unproven – not a lot of (varsity) experience – but they’ve really taken to coaching and they’re getting better day by day. I think as far as athleticism, they’re fine. As far as downhill running, that’s yet to be determined.”

Chaffin is going to be a bear of a baller. He will make a ton of plays in his Davie career. But the War Eagles need Chaffin to be a huge factor right away, which is a lot to ask from a 14 year old.

“He’s going to be special,” defensive coordinator Blaine Nicholson said. “I think everybody in the county knows exactly who he is. As a freshman, you don’t want to put too much on him. But unfortunately at his position, he’s got to be right mentally. The good news is he’s incredibly smart. Coach Bum (Todd Bumgarner) has done a great job getting him ready. He’s going to be able to fit the run just fine. He runs with anticipation, so he’s going to get himself in the right position more often than not. Immediately on day one, we saw that he’s a football player, and he’s been working his tail off to get right for Mooresville.”

At 6-3 and 195 pounds, Chaffin’s well on his way to becoming an absolute monster.

“He’s getting bigger every time you see him,” Nicholson said. “He was helping us at youth camp, he put a jersey on and we all said: ‘Maybe you need to get the next size up.’”

Banks (5-10, 195) and Boger (6-0, 180) will get their chances.

“Both run really well,” Nicholson said. “Both are good blitzers and good in pass coverage. Zack is a great athlete that we like to move around. Ian is going to get us lined up right. He’s never going to make the wrong call, and there’s a lot of value in those guys.”

After carrying the ball on JV the past two seasons, Richardson (5-10, 200) is learning a new position. When he gets everything figured out, he should be more than fine.

“Archer has done a lot of really good things in spring and summer ball,” Nicholson said. “He’s still figuring the position out, but if you’ve ever watched him run the ball, you know he’s physical, not scared and he’s going to pick ‘em up and put ‘em down. We’re excited to see what he can do with his strength and versatility.”