Prep Football: Page 34, Davie 14

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 28, 2009

By Brian Pitts
MOCKSVILLE ó The opening acts of Jacob Barber’s first start at quarterback for Davie’s football team were spectacular.
The junior, who missed the opener with bruised ribs, galloped 44 yards on the game’s first play.
Barber hit Darius Wilson for 47 yards on Davie’s 11th play. On Davie’s 14th play, Barber used a beautiful fake to running back Skeeter Montgomery to score a 5-yard touchdown for a 6-0 lead.
Barber was everything coach Doug Illing and the War Eagles were hoping for Friday against visiting Page in a game that kicked off at 8:50 p.m. after a lightning delay. But instead of a fairy-tale debut for Barber, the momentum evaporated and gave way to Page’s menacing rushing attack. Page’s three-headed, ball-carrying monster produced 34 unanswered points in a 34-14 Page victory.
Thuc Phan (106 yards on 17 carries) is a speedster with astonishing power for a 5-foot-6 runner. Greg Rogers (98 yards on 11 carries) and Lenny Gordon (62 yards on nine carries) are bruisers who wore down Davie’s defense in the second half.
“We knew they had three good ones, and we were hoping to keep them off the field,” Illing said. “Our game plan was to churn it ourselves and keep our defense off the field. It was working for a while.”
If there’s a chink in the Pirates’ armor, it’s their passing game. Two quarterbacks combined for 3-of-9 passing for 62 yards, but the Pirates’ ground game is so strong they don’t have to bother with the pass.
Take a second-and-19 situation from the Page 34 in the third quarter. The score was 14-6 Page. Instead of going up top, Page simply handed the ball to Phan, who dashed 19 yards. That ignited a 57-yard scoring drive.
“Bruce McKoy dropped back on third-and-7 and found Alex Martin, who got free from Davie’s Teddy Allen at the Davie 33 and weaved 43 yards to the end zone for a back-breaking 21-6 lead.
“They run it, run it, run it,” Illing said. “And when they do pass it, they’re dead on.”
The Pirates improved to 2-0 in nonconference play. They avenged last year’s 50-49 overtime loss in which they blew a 34-8 halftime lead. Davie is 0-2 for the first time since 2002.
Davie’s offense sputtered after the hot start. Barber finished with 90 yards on 14 carries, and he went 6-for-12 for 86 yards passing.
Nick Bohannon, who scored from the 10 during mop-up time, had 37 yards on four carries. Barber came in under the radar and seemed to catch Page by surprise early on, but Page regrouped and flexed its defensive muscles, although Davie failed to take advantage of two golden opportunities on deep balls.
One was dropped and another was slightly overthrown when the receiver didn’t fire off the line. Both plays were potential TDs ó or at least 40-yard gains.
“They made some adjustments with their tackles,” Illing said. “They started penetrating. You call those same plays, and penetration up the middle kept us from pulling. We checked it wrong another time.”
It only gets tougher for the War Eagles, who visit West Rowan next week. The Falcons haven’t lost since last year’s meeting.
“That’s the purpose in getting this kind of schedule,” Illing said. “I think we’re growing tough skin right now. You want them to learn how to play these kind of teams. There’s no question it’s going to help us.”