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Prep Football: Mount Tabor 38, Davie 17

By Bret Strelow
bstrelow@salisburypost.com
MOCKSVILLE ó Davie County’s run toward a sixth straight CPC title has hit a snag.
The top priority is now picking up league win No. 1.
Davie lost 38-17 to visiting Mount Tabor on Monday night. The War Eagles have earned at least a share of the conference crown in each of the last five seasons, but they’ve started CPC play with a pair of setbacks against unbeaten co-leaders.
“It’s out of our hands,” Davie coach Doug Illing said. “We have to continue to build confidence and togetherness and build a team. We can win out from here on out and develop some momentum going into the playoffs. There’s still some good teams that have to play each other too. We’ll see what happens.”
Davie fell 37-20 against West Forsyth, and the outcome against Mount Tabor (7-1, 2-0) dropped the War Eagles to 0-2 in the CPC for the first time since 2000.
Xavier Varner scored on a 27-yard interception return for the Spartans, who harassed Davie (5-3) with relentless pressure. James Mayfield scored on a 17-yard run to give the War Eagles a first-quarter lead, but Tabor limited him to 27 yards on 11 carries.
“They’ve got six in the box, and we’ve got five to block,” Illing said. “We knew coming in they were very determined to stop the run, and we knew running the ball was going to be really tough up front. We had to execute a little better with the pass and give (the quarterback) time to throw because they’re bringing six or seven.”
The War Eagles trailed by 14 points at halftime and pulled within 24-17 when they covered 87 yards on their first drive of the third quarter. Joe Watson, who didn’t catch a pass in the first half, made four receptions for 83 yards in the series.
Davie faced a first-and-19 from its 49 when quarterback Zach Illing avoided two defenders, sprinted toward the left sideline and stumbled while unleashing a long throw. The ball hit Watson in stride, and he scored with 4:59 left in the period.
“There wasn’t nothing really there,” Illing said. “I got outside the pocket and about fell. I saw Joe and just threw it down the sideline.”
Davie didn’t have momentum for long.
The Spartans took over deep in their own territory and reached the War Eagles’ 1 thanks to runs of 38, 11, 13, 13 and 13 yards. Robert Willis broke loose on the first play and had three carries for 64 yards on the drive. Hunter Furr (26 rushes, 141 yards) ended the possession with his third touchdown run of the game.
“We needed that defensive stop,” Doug Illing said. “That’s where our team usually feeds off each other. Once we get that score, our defense usually rises to the occasion. We couldn’t get that stop right there.”
The next series ended when Davie attempted to pick up a first down on fourth-and-6 from its 49 late in the third quarter. Jarrell Marshall caught a pass near the left sideline, but Willis held him to a 5-yard gain.
Furr rushed for 24 yards on a third-and-16 carry from Davie’s 41, and Denard Jones capped the scoring on a 5-yard run with 9:01 remaining.
“We wanted to get back to what we do best,” said Mount Tabor coach Laymarr Marshall, who played tailback at Duke in the mid-1990s, “and that’s running the football.”
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NOTES: Mayfield ended the first half with 17 yards on eight carries. Tabor stopped him for a loss or no gain on six of the rushes. … A 60-yard punt return by Perry James set up Michael Rowe’s 21-yard field goal, which brought Davie within 17-10. The War Eagles had first-and-goal from the 4. … The Spartans doubled their lead by scoring with 43.9 seconds left in the first half, and tight end Hunter Sommerville had three catches for 61 yards on that drive.

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