Chaplin carries West to 50-42 win over Davie

Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Grey Deal and Markel Summers played the best games of their lives in the biggest showdown in Davie’s seven-year-old stadium. Deal reeled in a third-quarter catch that will be immortalized in Davie-West Forsyth lore during a career night that saw him produce eight receptions for 160 yards. Summers was spectacularly good while running for a career-high 243 yards.

The problem for Davie was West’s Caman Chaplin played like the greatest running back in the history of football. With a share of first place on the line, the Titans won 50-42 Friday because the 5-10, 180-pound senior went for 383 yards and six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) on 38 carries.

For Davie, it was a horrible flashback to 2022 in Clemmons, when Chaplin rushed 38 times for 357 yards in West’s three-point win.

“He’s a freak,” West’s first-year coach, Kevin Wallace, told the Clemmons Courier. “I mean, he’s got 26 touchdowns in seven games. He didn’t play the first one (an 8-7 win over AC Reynolds). He can see it, he can go and he can run. He can explode through the hole.”

The week before, West lost 35-26 to Reagan despite Chaplin’s 365 yards on 36 carries. That output was negated by five turnovers and 158 penalty yards.

“I thank God that He gave me these abilities to do what I do,” Chaplin told the Courier. “It’s amazing that I did it two weeks in a row. This gives us our momentum back. The loss last week hit us in the face, buy hey, we bounced back.”

West improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Central Piedmont Conference, retaining a first-place tie with East Forsyth. With back-to-back losses, Davie (5-3, 3-2) faded from the hunt.

It was a big-time track meet from start to finish on Davie’s homecoming. On the second play from scrimmage, Chaplin dashed 67 yards to the end zone. A successful two-point pass staked West to an 8-0 lead after 25 seconds of play. Davie’s offense was unfazed, scoring 41 seconds later on a 40-yard run by Summers. Max McCall converted the kick to pull Davie within 8-7.

The Titans were able to control the game because they won the turnover battle, 1-3. Davie QB Ty Miller and Summers couldn’t make a clean exchange on a play with 7:35 left in the first quarter, and West recovered the fumble after Davie had driven from its 15 to the West 23.

“I don’t think it was a wrong read or anything,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “It’s just one of those things that can happen when you run read concept.”

On the next play, Chaplin caught a screen pass and was gone on a 72-yard TD. His video-game stats included a team-high 87 receiving yards on three grabs.

“I’m going to try to get into open space any way I can – inside, outside, it don’t matter,” Chaplin said. “I just do what I do. I knew I could beat them with my speed.”

Davie answered right back. Miller threaded the needle on a pass to Deal, who shook off a defender, turned up field and raced 46 yards to the end zone. On the PAT, the snap to holder Miller was off, but he calmly rolled out and completed an unlikely two-point pass to Joe Wilds, who plays defense, to tie the game at 15.

But West capped a 37-point first quarter by moving 60 yards to take a 22-15 lead.

West’s Daviare Eldridge intercepted Miller at the West 36 late in the first quarter, but the Davie D picked up its quarterback by getting a turnover on downs. After West had reached the Davie 7, Elijah Chaffin and Landon Barber delivered big tackles on second and third down, respectively. Wallace elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 7, but outside linebacker Zander Richardson sacked Bert Rice to keep Davie within seven.

The defense came through again the next time West had the bal. Chaffin and Cole Thomas stuffed backup running back TJ Fergus for a loss, and Barber sacked Rice on fourth-and-11 from the Davie 23.

“There were countless plays with guys laying it out there and making huge plays for our team,” Devericks said.

After a scoreless second quarter, the War Eagles opened the second half with the ball and a chance to draw even. But they went three-and-out and Chaplin immediately made them pay by ripping off a 69-yard TD. That was a game-tilting moment that put West ahead by two scores, 29-15.

“(Chaplin) doesn’t go down on the first contact,” Devericks said. “He’s got a low center of gravity and he runs it really hard.”

Davie’s high-flying offense hung in as good as it could. After six of West’s seven TDs, the War Eagles answered right back, including a 65-yard drive that featured a 21-yard, one-handed catch by Deal, who held on as he tumbled to the ground. You had to see it to believe it. Two plays later, he caught a 20-yard pass. Summers finished the drive as Davie pulled within 29-22.

“If ESPN was here, that’s a SportsCenter No. 1 play,” Devericks said. “And (Deal) made a lot of other good catches, too, in traffic. That one he made, that was … you don’t see that.”

With Davie needing a stop in the worst way, West covered 59 yards in nine plays to push its lead back to 36-22.

But Davie’s offense kept clicking. Miller rolled left and fired to Braddock Coleman, who made a beautiful snag and gained 36 yards. Three plays later, Miller scored with ease on an 11-yard keeper. Now it was 36-29.

But this was a night of Chaplin doing absolutely anything he wanted. He carried the ball seven times on an 11-play drive that resulted in a 43-29 lead for the visitors.

“I don’t know (Chaplin) personally, but I think he’s a very humble kid because you don’t see any showboating out of him,” Devericks said. “In this day and age, that’s a credit to that young man.”

Less than two minutes into the fourth, Summers broke off the longest run of his varsity career, 77 yards, to keep Davie alive at 43-35 (the PAT was wide left).

“They’ve got some playmakers over there, and they executed stuff,” Wallace said of Davie. “They did good things. I mean, that’s a tough team to play – very tough team.”

Chaplin was moving the chains with three straight runs, but he left the door open by fumbling at the Davie 18. Safety Connor Hood recovered for Davie with 8:58 remaining.

But just as the home fans started to get their hopes up, Eldridge picked off Miller for the second time. His long return set up the West offense at the Davie 29, and the Titans scored six plays later to put Davie in a crushing hole – 50-35 with 3:47 on the clock.

“Turnovers are sometimes the name of the game, and we had more of those than they did,” Devericks said.

Miller and Co. responded by marching down the field again. Miller zipped one through double coverage to Coleman, who scored a 20-yard TD. McCall’s kick was good to make it 50-42, but only 2:18 remained and Davie had to have the onside kick.

The Titans recovered the kick, ran out the clock and beat Davie for the third season in a row. While it was a joyous frenzy on the green side, Devericks consoled his boys after a valiant effort.

“I’m proud of every one of them because I felt like they left it all out here on the field,” he said. “They laid it all on the line tonight. They knew what was coming and they kept fighting.

“That was a huge momentum swing to take a two-score advantage. But again, our guys didn’t quit. We came back and scored. We had a chance at an onside kick.”

Notes: Chaplin came in averaging 209 rushing yards per game. With 470 rushing/receiving yards, he represented 76 percent of West’s offense. … Davie also got hammered by Fergus, who averaged 7.4 yards on his nine carries. “He’s not No. 3 (Chaplin), but at the same time, he’s very capable of doing damage,” Devericks said. … Summers is on a mission. He scored three TDs, averaged nine yards per carry and put up his seventh straight 100-yard game. His previous high for rushing yards was 221 last year. He’s at 1,024 yards – two less than his junior season – with at least two games to go. He became the eighth back to post multiple 1,000-yard seasons. “He did a phenomenal job,” Devericks said. “The guys up front gave him some creases, and that’s all Markel needs. I would put him up with anyone in the state with his heart and his determination.” … Miller set two career records while delivering his fourth straight 300-yard game. He has thrown a TD in 19 straight games. The old record belonged to Alex Summers (18 in 2021). This marked his sixth 300-yard game. Nate Hampton (2018-19) and A. Summers (2020-21) had five such games. … Deal has done mind-boggling stuff across four games, making 23 catches for 405 yards. That’s a four-game average of six catches for 101 yards. … The outcome overshadowed a strong effort by Chaffin, the freshman linebacker. “Elijah has an innate ability to have a nose for the ball,” Devericks said. “He just finds his way through there, he’s physical and gets downhill. He made a lot of plays for our defense.” … While West and East are tied for first, Davie and Reagan are tied for third at 3-2. … Davie’s Senior Night game is Friday against visiting Parkland at 7 p.m. The regular season will end at Glenn Oct. 27. “This hurts, but at the same time, we’ve got a really good team,” Devericks said. “We’ve got to sit on this one for a little bit and then get ready to go.”