Prep Football: Mount Tabor 14, Davie 11
By Brian Pitts
WINSTON-SALEM ó It seemed like Groundhog Day for Davie’s football team last night at Mount Tabor. The defense played outstanding, limiting Tabor’s big plays and causing three turnovers. But the offense struggled again.
As a result, Davie lost 14-11 in a game that was a little reminiscent to a 13-7 overtime loss at West Forsyth last week. Davie dropped to 3-6 overalland 0-3 in the Central Piedmont Conference, while Tabor improved to 6-3, 2-1.
The offensive output for Davie, hindered again by the absence of quarterback Jacob Barber (concussion), was dreadful: three turnovers, 3-of-12 on third-down conversions and five sacks that left Davie with 23 rushing yards on 26 attempts. The opportunities were there as Davie started four first-half drives in Tabor territory, but the Spartans’ blitzes and the presence of linemen Mat Turner and Chris Manns were too much.
“We tried to double team (Turner and Manns) and we still couldn’t block them,” Davie coach Doug Illing said. “We tried to run it. They just stuffed it. Everything we did we had to do quick. When you do that, you’re kind of limited as far as the deep balls go. Then they start jumping the short routes. It really forces your hand.”
Tabor’s defense forced 18 incompletions in 30 attempts by Carson Herndon, who threw for 52 of his 123 yards in the final five minutes, when the score was 14-3.
“We were worried about protecting it very long,” Illing said. “We had to throw the quick stuff. We were just trying to nickel and dime them.”
Dropped passes didn’t help matters. “It’s a lack of concentration on everybody’s behalf that’s got something to do with the ball,” Illing said.
Davie couldn’t take advantage of opportunities in the first half. The War Eagles’ first offensive snap came at the Tabor 19, but they fumbled on third down. Tabor’s offense clicked for 79 yards on 11 plays, not facing a third down, and took a 7-0 lead. Davie’s next series ended with a dropped pass. Davie’s next possession started at the Tabor 47, but it went three-and-out.
Davie started at the Tabor 42, but quickly turned the ball over on downs.
Then came the biggest missed opportunity. A 10-yard reverse by receiver Joe Watson gave Davie first-and-goal at the 1. But a snap infraction on center Ray Sheppard cost Davie 5 yards, and it settled for a 22-yard field goal, making it 7-3 at the half. That penalty was magnified late in the game, when four more points would have been huge.
“(Ray) was looking around and moved it a little bit,” Illing said. “It’s a rules infraction, but dang, what a time to get that. You’ve still got to be able to stick it in down there.”
It was still 7-3 in the fourth. Tabor finally gained separation when it completed a 40-yard pass from Brad Morton to Charlie Dixon on second-and-19.
Tabor scored four plays later for a 14-3 cushion.
The War Eagles made things interesting late by tricking Tabor. Herndon completed a 12-yard pass to Jarrett Wallace, who executed a hook-and-lateral to Nick Bohannon, who raced the remaining 25 yards to the end zone. Herndon hit Darius Wilson on the two-point conversion.
With the score 14-11 and 1:34 to go, Davie needed to recover the onside kick. It didn’t happen, and that was that.
The War Eagles’ sixth straight loss in the series leaves them in jeopardy of losing two proud streaks. They have six straight winning seasons and no losing seasons since 2000. Both marks will fall without a miraculous finish.
“We can’t talk about playoffs,” Illing said. “We’ve got to talk about what it takes to win an individual play. We can’t hardly talk about a win. We’ve got to do the things it takes to win a play. Until we do that consistently, we might be taking it up at the end of the (regular) season – something we haven’t done in eight years.”