Prep Football Playoffs: Butler 24, Davie 0

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008

By Brian Pitts
MATTHEWS ó Davie football coach Doug Illing said he couldn’t fault the effort in last night’s 24-0 loss at Butler in the first round of the 4AA playoffs. The state’s second-ranked team was just better.
The Bulldogs dominated throughout amid a light but steady rain. In the process, they handed Davie its first shutout loss since a 42-0 decision at A.C. Reynolds in the ’02 quarterfinals. Davie had scored in 80 consecutive games.
“Our defense kept us in it,” said Illing, whose team trailed just 14-0 at the half. “We felt like our defense could keep us in it if we could just execute on offense. But that’s a good defensive ballclub. The field wassloppy. We felt like it was going to work to our advantage if we could run the ball a little bit. But it limited our receivers’ cuts, and we werehaving trouble blocking and giving Zach (Illing) time to throw.”
Butler improved to 11-1, the only loss coming to No. 1 Independence. Davie closed shop at 7-5.
The War Eagles caused a fumble on the game’s fourth play, but their offense struggled mightily the entire first half. The halftime stats: minus-6 rushing yards on 12 attempts, 12 passing yards on eight throws and no first downs. James Mayfield, the workhorse runner, had 10 carries for 10 yards.
Meanwhile, Butler was mixing it up and moving smoothly, gaining 123 yards on 28 rushes, throwing for 102 yards and picking up 10 first downs.
Three Butler ball carriers took turns moving the sticks. Jawaun Edwards, a monstrous sophomore at 6-0 and 220 pounds, cranked out 156 yards on 26 carries. Speedsters Deion Walker (60 yards on seven carries) and Anthony Short (56 on eight) raced efficiently around the edges.
“(Edwards) is a beast,” Illing said. “He’s a physical player that you’ve got to gang-tackle. But they’ve got a bunch of guys that run it tough. They keptpinning us inside (in the first half). We just weren’t lining up right. You’ve got sophomores out there. Their eyes are big and things are different than they were Monday through Thursday. We got them corrected on the sidelines, but by that time we’re 14 down.”
Davie’s season was subpar by its standards, largely because of crazy series of injuries. A new player went down seemingly every week, the latest being defensive tackle Greg Brill, who sat out with a shoulder problem. Davie exited in the first round for the second straight year.
Davie can take solace in posting a sixth straight winning record.
“We battled injuries all year,” Illing said. “The team grows together and then that pulls them away. When a kid gets injured, he tends to drift out of the scene and you lost that chemistry. That’s what we battled all year. We started getting healthier toward the end, but you’re still trying to piece things together to make it work.”
On the bright side, ’09 looks extremely promising for the War Eagles, who will return most of the late-season starters.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that got a lot of great experience,” he said. “I can’t even count right now the number of sophomores who were on the field tonight.”

Brian Pitts is the sports editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record in Mocksville.