Prep Football: Davie 35, West Rowan 21
By Brian Pitts
MOCKSVILLE ó If running backs K.P. Parks of West Rowan and James Mayfield of Davie were supposed to trade blows and dominate the spotlight last night in Mocksville, someone forgot to tell Davie quarterback Zach Illing.
Illing became the story by hitting 16 of 27 passes for 281 yards ó with two touchdown passes and no interceptions ó to lead the War Eagles to a rousing 35-21 nonconference victory.
Phenom Parks rushed for 130 yards, but he was contained on 27 carries, his longest run going for 16 yards.
Mayfield was a non-factor, injuring his shoulder on Davie’s second series and staying on the bench. With Mayfield holding ice on his shoulder, Illing took over.
“Oh, he made some throws,” Davie offensive coordinator Barry Whitlock said. “We had a couple routes called to the trip side, but he came back to the single-receiver side. That’s just something he sees. He sees what the defense gives us.”
Davie’s amazing sophomore receiver, Joe Watson, burned West’s secondary with four catches for 149 yards.
Davie (2-0) exploded to a 21-0 lead, then watched West climb back to 21-14 by halftime. But Illing and his receivers proved too much for the Falcons (1-1).
“Me and Zach have a good connection,” Watson said. “He knows me, I know him and he knows where I like it. We were dead (at halftime). But Zach was pinpoint again.”
Illing’s 30-yard strike to Watson sparked a 62-yard drive that gave Davie a quick 14-0 lead. Marshall took a punt 57 yards to make it 21-0 with 11:38 left in the half.
But suddenly Davie’s offense became punchless. Meanwhile, West’s B.J. Sherrill took over at quarterback and got the Falcons revved up.
After the Falcons missed a golden opportunity by fumbling into the end zone, Sherrill hit Brantley Horton with a 7-yard score.
Moments later, Jon Crucitti hit Sherrill with a 34-yard pass that set up Parks’ 1-yard TD that trimmed the margin to 21-14.
“We felt good because we were in a 21-0 hole,” West coach Scott Young said.
“We had the fumble in the end zone. So in all honesty, that thing could have been 21-all.”
With West holding all the momentum at halftime, a third-quarter change helped Davie regain the edge.
Sophomore Jacob Barber entered for the first time at running back, and his 19-yard play on a shuffle pass revived the War Eagles’ spirits. On the next two plays, Watson hauled in a 46-yard pass and Barber scored from the 1 for a 28-14 Davie lead.
On Davie’s next series, its passing game broke West’s back. Illing found Watson for 66 yards for a 35-14 lead with 5:10 left in the third.
Davie’s resolve amid an avalanche of injuries was something extraordinary.
Not only was Mayfield out, senior cornerback Perry James got hurt late in the first half and never returned. Two days ago senior cornerback Shyteek Brown suffered a broken jaw.
“You’ve got to credit Davie,” Young said. “I think our team showed a lot of guts by fighting back.
“But for those guys to stand in there and fight and be able to pull out a win, you’ve got to credit their kids.”
Young focussed on the positives. One big one was Sherrill, an exciting sophomore who passed 15-for-28 for 181 yards.
“When you play a good program like Davie, you know it’s going to make your team better down the road – regardless of the outcome,” Young said. “B.J. answered some questions tonight. I think we’ve got to move toward him being our No. 1 guy, for the most part.”