Prep Football: Reynolds 33, Davie County 23
By Brian Pitts
email@example.comMOCKSVILLE ó One half of a much-anticipated matchup between visiting R.J. Reynolds and Davie fizzled quickly. Unfortunately for Davie, it was its half.
In Friday’s Central Piedmont 4A Conference opener, the War Eagles came out as if their hair was on fire. Nick Bohannon took the game’s first play from scrimmage 79 yards. It would have gone for 99 yards, but a block-in-the-back penalty erased the points. Davie still scored four plays later for a 7-0 lead.
The good times for Davie ended right there. Reynolds and its high-powered offense erupted for 26 unanswered points in the first half and delivered an early knockout, leading 26-7 at the half and coasting to a 33-23 win on Davie’s homecoming.
The ninth-ranked Demons improved to 7-0, while Davie stumbled to 3-4.
Reynolds’ mighty mite of a quarterback, the 5-8, 140-pound Craven Knotts, put on a clinic in the first half, going 10 of 13 for 226 yards and four TDs. He settled for 14 of 25 for 284 yards and five TDs.
“His completion percentage is right at 60 percent,” Reynolds coach Mike Propst said. “A lot of that’s because of the people who are catching it.”
In the first half, Davie’s defense got the job done on first and second down. But it could do nothing right on third and fourth down. On fourth-and-8, Knotts found De’Vyne Julius for 9 yards. On third-and-13, Knotts released the ball just before a blitz hit him, resulting in a 32-yard TD to Kevin Simmons.
Reynolds faced third-and-13 on its next possession. No matter. Knotts went deep to Jake Gainey. Safety Alex Newman jumped up at the Davie 25, but the ball sailed over his hand by an inch or two, right into the arms of Gainey, who scored a 58-yard TD.
Reynolds faced third-and-19 the next time it had the ball. Gainey burned the defender and made a 51-yard catch for a 19-7 lead.
It only got worse for Davie. It was fourth-and-13 when Knotts connected with Julius, who caught it between three defenders and completed a 26-yard play for the 26-7 halftime lead.
Davie rallied in the second half, but the wakeup call came too late.
“Boy, (Knotts) throws a perfectly catchable ball,” Davie coach Doug Illing said. “I mean every pass he throws is an opportunity for his receiver to catch it. Everything he threw was on time.”
Davie got back in the game on a 36-yard TD pass from Jacob Barber to Joe Watson and on a series of Barber keepers that resulted in a 64-yard drive.
The deficit was 33-23 with 11:09 to play. Davie went for two with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but Reynolds stuffed a Skeeter Montgomery run.
It was a disappointing night for Davie on both sides of the ball. Seventy-nine of its 138 rushing yards came on one play, and Reynolds’ relentless pressure limited Barber to 6-of-12 passing for 98 yards. After he left with an apparent concussion, Carson Herndon went 0-for-8. Reynolds punished Davie with six sacks.
“We’re a better team than what we showed tonight,” Illing said. “I’m very disappointed in our defense giving up big plays like that. We stuffed the run and gave up the deep ball in the middle of the field.”