Prep Football: Alexander Central 3, Davie 0
By Brian Pitts
MOCKSVILLE ó So much for getting off to a fast start with difficult opponents Page and West Rowan looming around the corner.
Davie’s offense was anemic in an upset loss that few fans saw coming. Jeremy Whisnant of Alexander Central drilled a 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and the visiting Cougars pulled off a 3-0 head-turner to open the football season.
Shock, anger, disappointment and disbelief filled the Davie locker room.
The Cougars, who are better known for their softball, reveled in a win that folks in Taylorsville will talk about for years.
“It’s going to surprise a lot of people not only in Taylorsville, but North Carolina,” Alexander Central coach Tom Harper said. “They didn’t think this little country town of Taylorsville could come to Davie County and hold them to nothin’.”
The scoreboard registered an odd final, but it looked like a masterpiece to the win-starved Cougars, who were 4-7 and failed to make the playoffs a year ago.
“I’m just so proud of our people for showing stamina, integrity and character,” Harper said. “To come into a place that is notorious for being a really hard place to play, my hat’s off to our coaches and players.”
Davie coach Doug Illing said the loss wasn’t due to lack of effort.
“Just lack of execution,” he said.
The War Eagles’ soaring optimism was snuffed out by an offense that sputtered throughout. Davie managed two first downs and seven passing yards in the first half, and the frustration only continued in the second half.
The War Eagles finished with six first downs, 52 rushing yards and 101 total yards.
The Cougars weren’t much better, but they averaged 4.1 yards per rushing attempt, controlled the clock and field position and more than doubled Davie in yards.
Davie got a big defensive stand to preserve a scoreless tie in the first half. The Cougars used a methodical attack to churn from their 3-yard line to inside the Davie 1, with 17 of 18 plays coming on the ground.
Linebacker Jared Barber stopped AC at the Davie 1 on second and third down, and nose guard Christian Peebles stuffed a run on fourth down.
The drive resulted in no points, but it shortened the game and altered the momentum for good. Quarterback Kyle Kinnaird was the star, rushing 19 times for 130 yards. His tackle-shedding, 58-yard scamper to the Davie 23 set up the decisive field goal with 10:50 to play.
“We wanted to take the clock down, play field position and try to put it down their throats,” Harper said.
Zach Long blocked a 40-yard field goal in the first half, but the War Eagles’ defense could only bail out the offense for so long.
Carson Herndon, who did all the quarterbacking with Jacob Barber nursing bruised ribs, went 7-of-15 passing for 49 yards as Davie went more than a half before it crossed midfield. Big-name receiver Joe Watson had four catches for 37 yards.
The running game never found a rhythm, either. Skeeter Montgomery had 16 carries for 44 yards, and Nick Bohannon had five for 20. Herndon was sacked five times.
“You want them to be careful not to point fingers and blame anybody,” Illing said. “We’ve got to use it as a teaching lesson.”