York steals spotlight in 32-3 War Eagle win

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Davie Enterprise Record

Here’s a fun question for Davie’s varsity football team: Who’s the No. 1 receiver? Quarterback Ty Miller certainly has plenty of quality options out wide.

In the season opener against Mooresville, sophomore Ethan Driver shined with eight catches for 125 yards. In week two against West Rowan, junior Braddock Coleman got his moment in the sun, making seven catches for 143 yards. Not to be outdone, Driver produced another big game with 109 yards on four receptions.

Then came Friday’s 32-3 drubbing of visiting North Davidson, when senior Evan York delivered the brightest bolts of lightning. He made good on his potential with five catches for 107 yards, matching a varsity career high in receptions and establishing a career high in receiving yards. His previous high was 102 yards in last year’s 34-31 loss to West Forsyth.

“He’s got all the tools,” coach Tim Devericks said of the 6-1, 225-pound York. “He’s just got to be able to do the little things correctly.”

In the final nonconference game, Davie improved to 2-1 with its second win in a row. It was the third dismal loss for the rebuilding Black Knights.

Davie dictated terms right from the start. On the eighth play from scrimmage, Driver made a gorgeous catch for a 20-yard touchdown. On the next play, Davie safety Eli Branham forced a fumble that Zander Richardson recovered at the North 36. Miller’s 18-yard completion to York moved the ball to the 17, and then Miller got a fortuitous bounce on a pass to the end zone, the ball ricocheting off one War Eagle and into the arms of Coleman for a 13-yard score.

Davie, which was missing kicker Max McCall and went for two three out of five times, had a 12-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.

The Black Knights achieved perfect execution during a methodical drive that spanned the end of the first and most of the second quarter. They completed eight short passes and mixed in six runs. They pushed the ball 79 yards in 14 plays, the possession keeping Miller and Co. on the sideline while chewing 9:08 off the clock.  The surge ended with a successful 22-yard field goal to make it 12-3 with 3:47 remaining in the half.

“Our defense is not used to playing at the pace they were playing at,” Devericks said. “They’ve just got to lock in and focus. They did a good job of rebounding.”

The Black Knights were able to play keepaway some more because they were successful on a fake punt on fourth-and-9 from the North 48. The upman took the snap and rambled 27 yards to the Davie 25.

“The frustrating thing was we were in punt safe,” Devericks said. “We didn’t execute.”

But the Davie defense stiffened and the War Eagles proceeded to pound North the rest of the night. Matty Warner applied pressure on the quarterback and the first-down pass fell incomplete. Branham broke up a second-down pass. After three straight incompletions, North was wide right on a 42-yard field-goal try.

North stayed within nine in the first half by dominating time of possession (15:48 to 8:12). But in the third quarter, Davie blew the game open.

Miller converted a pair of third-down situations with completions to Leon Bradshaw and Grey Deal before running back Markel Summers scored from 2 yards out.

York reeled in 42- and 15-yard catches as Davie stormed 65 yards in four plays.

And on the third offensive series of the third, a pass to Coleman went for 30 yards, Miller hit Summers for 15 and Miller completed the 65-yard drive with an easy 1-yard TD. That capped the scoring with 2:09 remaining in the third.

Miller (19-33-0-267) fired three TD passes, a feat he has accomplished six times in 14 varsity games. The senior QB spread the ball around to seven targets: York, Coleman (3-49), Driver (3-27), Summers (3-26), Bradshaw (2-28), Deal (2-25) and Carter Helton (1-5). On top of that, Summers (19 carries, 107 yards) enjoyed back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the second time in his two-year varsity career.

“Ty was just taking what the defense was giving him,” Devericks said. “If they’re giving us a 5-yard hitch route, take it. We don’t have to throw it deep every time.”

Meanwhile, the defense did a wonderful job after North’s 14-play, nine-minute possession in the first half. The Black Knights only managed 64 yards on their remaining 34 plays as the quarterback went 4 of 17 for 31 yards and the ground game picked up 33 yards on 17 attempts.

The tackle leaders were junior linebacker Archer Richardson (11), freshman linebacker Elijah Chaffin (nine) and junior d-lineman Landon Barber (six). Barber and Warner each had two tackles for loss.

North had a golden opportunity for its first TD of the season when it reached the Davie 3 with about five minutes to go. On first down, Barber planted the runner 2 yards back. On second down, Bradshaw broke up a pass. On fourth down, Barber and Zack Banks combined for a sack.

“Landon worked really hard in the offseason,” Devericks said. “He wanted to trim some excess fat and get more muscle. He’s a workout warrior. He’s always had a great motor. Now he’s combining that and just fine-tuning his craft.”

The secondary gets better every week. Safety Connor Hood broke up two passes. Senior outside linebacker Z. Richardson and junior cornerback/receiver Bradshaw had one each.

“(Against West Rowan) Gavin Reese had a phenomenal game,” Devericks said. “He didn’t get a lot of stats that people see, but man, he did a lot of good things. Connor is doing well. Eli was back healthy tonight, and he made some plays for us. Leon and Braxton Bowling are back there making plays.”

Now the War Eagles have a bye week before starting play in the Central Piedmont Conference. The past three seasons they finished fourth, fifth and fifth in the league. They will have to raise their play a couple notches to have a shot at a top-three finish.

“We’re nowhere near the team we can potentially be,” Devericks said. “We have to be able to play at a higher level. We’ve done fairly well. We’ve had two good quarters here and then we fall for a quarter and then we rise to the occasion. But in the CPC, you’ve got to be ready to play for four quarters and be at the top of your game all the time.”

Notes: North has been outscored 101-3. … Davie’s fourth straight win over North tied the series record 27-27. … Davie nearly doubled North in yards (396-209). … Davie converted 7 of 11 third downs, compared to North’s 4 for 15 on third. … McCall is expected back for the CPC opener at Reynolds on Sept. 15.