Davie staves off Glenn; captures 2nd in CPC

Published 5:50 am Tuesday, October 31, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

If the Parkland win was the Markel Summers show, Friday’s 21-7 victory at Glenn was about Ty Miller and his amazing receivers.

Glenn’s defense was geared to take away the run, and Summers, who piled up 542 rushing yards in the previous two games, never found a rhythm. No worries. The passing game saved the War Eagles’ butts in the final regular-season game. All Miller did was throw for the sixth-most yards (396) in program history. And it must be noted that Davie (7-3 overall) also rode its defense to the highest win total in four seasons. This was a 13-7 game deep into the fourth quarter, and if the D hadn’t come through, Davie might have been toast.

Davie wound up tied for second in the Central Piedmont Conference, and that’s a big deal after it finished fourth, fifth and fifth the past three seasons. East Forsyth (6-1) captured its second title in a row. Davie and West Forsyth shared second at 5-2. Mt. Tabor and Reagan were 4-3. Glenn was 2-5, while Parkland/Reynolds were 1-6.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but coach Tim Devericks was just happy to get out of town with the W.

“Glenn’s been in every game,” he said. “They’re physical, they’ve got great coaches and they execute. I’m super proud of our defense. All 11 guys were locked in and getting after it. The defensive backs did a good job, and our linebackers made a lot of plays. They threw a lot of quick passes, but our defensive linemen never gave up.”

The War Eagles struggled to put Glenn away because six promising drives stalled out. They drove to the Glenn 33 before turning it over on downs. They drove 64 yards and picked up three first downs before committing a turnover. They moved the ball 57 yards, but had a turnover on downs. They drove 51 yards and picked up four first downs, only to commit a second turnover. in the first half They drove 42 yards, but had a turnover on downs. They drove 37 yards and picked up three first downs before a turnover on downs.

Credit Glenn for holding Summers to 76 rushing yards, or 71 before his average. His longest run was 13 yards.

“When we did the read option, they had two guys coming off the edge,” Miller said. “So they had one guy for Markel and another guy for me. It’s normally only one guy.”

Landon Barber recovered a Glenn fumble at midfield less than two minutes into the game, but Davie couldn’t take advantage. The Bobcats kept the ball for five minutes and were knocking on the door before Davie made a defensive stand at the 5-yard line. The big plays: Trey’von Doulin batted down a second-and-3 pass, and Brandon Wood blew up a running play on second down from the Davie 4. After Wood disrupted the play, Archer Richardson and Jerred Alexander finished the minus-1 stop.

The Davie defense set up the game’s first score. Connor Hood’s hit on the running back jarred the ball loose and Wood recovered the fumble at the Glenn 21. Two plays later, Miller connected with Ethan Driver for a touchdown. Max McCall’s extra point gave Davie a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.

“We’ve asked (Hood) to do a lot,” Devericks said of the safety. “He has to fit in the box on certain things, he has to cover on certain things, play man to man and play two deep. That’s a lot for a young man to do.”

Later in the second quarter, Glenn penetrated the red zone. But on fourth-and-5 from the 15, safety Eli Branham foiled a screen pass for no gain.

Davie looked primed to go up two scores, but those plans were wrecked by Glenn linebacker Isaiah Bufford, who intercepted Miller and returned it 44 yards to the Davie 22. Then Glenn wrong-footed the Davie defense with a trick play. A Bobcat went right on a jet sweep, then handed the ball to J’zier Dixon on a reverse. He glided 20 yards to paydirt as Glenn tied things at 7 with 1:59 left in the half.

“It was a phenomenal play call,” Devericks said. “We were in man coverage and they ran away. They had a lot of space with a block around the corner.”

Grey Deal was unable to play, so Miller was without his No. 2 receiver. It hardly mattered because he has a plethora of gifted receivers. Braddock Coleman helped immensely in the first half, when he reeled in six of his nine career-high catches. In the second half, Driver took center stage. Miller went deep and Driver, who had six of his seven grabs after halftime, hauled in a 39-yard TD. Davie botched the PAT, leaving the score 13-7.

“We’ve had guys step up all year,” Devericks said. “Ethan was sick all week, but he gutted it out. Evan (York) did a good job blocking for Leon (Bradshaw, who had a career-high eight receptions) on screens.”

“I’ve got so many options, so many great receivers, who put the work in,” Miller said. “(Coleman’s) just really reliable. I know he’s going to make the catch. (Driver) did not get to practice all week because he was sick, but he made a difference like he always does.”

Because the Bobcats possess speedy athletes, they had a serious puncher’s chance if you let them hang around. Sure enough, Dixon broke into the clear on a pass play from the Glenn 13. He sprinted 82 yards to the Davie 5, but fortunately for Davie, a penalty brought it back. That might have dazed Davie with less than six minutes remaining. But the flag was deflating for Glenn and Zander Richardson made back-to-back tackles to force a punt.

“Zander made two open-field tackles,” Devericks said. “One was a swing to the running back, and people don’t realize that’s a super tough tackle. Another time he rose to the occasion when it bounced outside.”

On second-and-17 with four minutes remaining, Miller went to Driver, and there was no defender in his zip code. Driver caught the ball 19 yards downfield and blazed another 42 yards to the Glenn 3, a 61-yard play that broke Glenn’s back.

“It was a slant route,” Devericks said. “They were in zero man and Ethan beat his man to the middle of the field. It was a great catch and he kept his balance.”

“They were biting really hard on the run, and I just threw it right behind the linebacker,” Miller said.

A penalty backed Davie up and it faced third-and-goal from the 13. Miller eluded pressure by spinning left and he found Kez Stockton at the 2. Stockton juked and scored to nailed it down with 2:02 on the clock.

“Kez made an out-of-nowhere catch,” Devericks said. “That was not where the play was designed to go, but we’ve got an athlete back there (at QB). Like in the old days of Chris Reynolds, when you spook him, bad things happen (for the opposing defense) and Ty made a play.”

Stockton’s emergence in the last four games is quite remarkable. He played football for the Mocksville Rams and for South Davie as a seventh grader, but he did not play the past four years. Last spring he decided to make a comeback as a senior.

“Coach Devericks asked me after a track meet,” Stockton said.

In the first six games, Stockton barely saw the field and had zero catches. But – you’re going to love this – he kept grinding and now he’s made a name for himself. He had two catches in his breakout at Tabor, one against West Forsyth, two against Parkland and five at Glenn, including his first TD.

“I really didn’t know what to think of him when he came in the spring,” Miller said. “He’s athletic, but he was struggling with the routes and struggling with catching the ball. The improvement he’s made throughout the season is insane.”

“He came out in the spring and said: ‘I think I can do this,’” Devericks said. “We saw he had great athleticism. It was just about learning and him building confidence in himself. Once we put the pads on, he had to adjust to that. I’m super excited for him because he’s a great kid. The kids were so jacked up for Kez because he’s a guy who has battled his tail off every day in practice. He kept working (when he didn’t get on the field).”

“I decided to play football because it’s my last year and I was like: ‘Why not give it a try?’” Stockton said. “I never thought I was going to get this chance, but I’m happy that I have.”

Miller delivered three-plus TD passes for the 10th time in two years, but the defense deserves credit for this one as well. Branham had 10 tackles and two pass breakups. Elijah Chaffin had nine tackles. Matty Warner had seven tackles and two quarterback hurries. Wood recorded three hurries.

“Elijah made a huge play on a screen pass that they had set up,” Devericks said. “They had two blockers for Elijah and he beat both blockers and made a tackle behind the line.

“Our defensive ends don’t get a lot of stats, but they do a lot up front to make it get to the linebackers.”

On a fourth-quarter play, Doulin grabbed the running back’s jersey as he was getting blocked. He held on until Alexander and A. Richardson could get there to drop the back for minus-4.

“He’s blessed athletically with some long arms, and he put it to use there,” Devericks said of Doulin. “He has worked really hard. Trey’von and Markel are really tight and they challenge each other all the time.”

Davie’s offensive line faced adversity. Jakob Alexander started at right tackle but got injured and never returned. Left tackle Evan Froelich had to leave the game with a sprained ankle. Barber and Nathaniel Jordan, who are d-linemen, came through in a pinch.

“Jakob went out early,” Devericks said. “Hopefully he’s OK. He had to go to the hospital to get his shoulder checked out. We were down to bare bones and then we had (Froelich’s) rolled ankle. Landon and Nathaniel stepped in. Nathaniel went to left guard to start with and (Evan) Copeland moved (from left guard) to left tackle. Froelich came back and tried to gut it out in the second half, but it’s really hard with a sprained ankle. We felt better with Copeland at guard and we moved Landon to left tackle.”

Notes: Glenn (3-7) closed with a three-game losing streak. … This marked the lowest-scoring game in 81 games, dating to a 20-3 win at West Forsyth in 2016. … Davie had its fewest points in 15 games. … Davie snapped a 12-game losing streak when scoring 21 or fewer points. This was the first such win since 21-14 over North Davidson in 2018. … Now it’s playoff time and now the War Eagles get a chance at revenge against Mt. Tabor, which ruined their chance for a share of first place by edging Davie 35-34 in Winston-Salem on Oct. 6. Davie will host the Spartans Friday night at 7. Davie is seeded 14th, Tabor 19th. The winner gets either No. 3 Mooresville or No. 30 Kannapolis in the second round.