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Prep Football: North Davidson 31, Davie 30

By Brian Pitts
sports@salisburypost.com
WELCOME ó Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
The story of Davie’s season was told again Friday at North Davidson, for what probably was the final time. The War Eagles were on their way to a spirited victory, leading 30-16 with 8:32 left after a 79-yard touchdown on a fake punt by Alex Newman.
They could envision beating North for the eighth straight year and securing a playoff berth. The War Eagles forgot one thing ó putting North away.
Less than seven minutes after Newman’s unbelievable dash on the fake, North was scoring to make it 30-29. Then North went for a 2-point conversion and got it on an outside run by kicker Shawn Williams, who stretched the ball out to put North on top 31-30 with 2:09 left.
The loss was familiar territory for the War Eagles, who lost four CPC games by a total of 20 points. It was their fourth loss by three or less. Another loss was in OT.
Davie, which doesn’t expect to squeak into the 4A playoffs, fell to 4-7 and 1-4 in the CPC. North is 7-4, 2-3.
“It’s disappointing,” Davie coach Doug Illing said. “You can’t put your hand on any one thing. At times the offense played well, when the defense didn’t play as well. Other times the defense played well and the offense didn’t. We were just hoping for it all to come together at one time. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to play one more time.”
Davie led 23-16 and faced fourth-and-6 at its 21when Illing made a gutsy call. Alex Newman, the upback, took the snap instead of punter and twin brother Sean Newman, then raced around right end for 79 yards and the 30-16 lead.”We scouted it up and it was there,” Illing said. “The last two series we didn’t move it, and I felt like our team needed a lift. I thought it was the perfect time to call it. We got the ball in Newman’s hands, and he hit another gear.”Victory appeared certain, especially the way Davie’s defense had played to that point.
But the unthinkable happened. North quarterback Brennen Dodd, who was a one-man show in the second half, willed the Black Knights from life support to fist-pumping euphoria.
Dodd scrambled 9 yards to the Davie 26, then hit Bryce Williams for 17 yards. He did stuff like that throughout the second half, finishing with 98 rushing yards and 213 passing yards ó or 85 percent of North’s offense.
Trevor Hinson’s 1-yard plunge capped an 11-play, 61-yard drive as North pulled within 30-23 with 4:45 left.
The Black Knights still needed a minor miracle, and they got it by recovering an onside kick at the Davie 47.
“I think (Zach) Long had it, but one of their players hit it and knocked it loose,” Illing said.
The next play was a 27-yard completion to the 6-foot-6 Williams. Dodd converted a fourth-and-3 with an 8-yard pass. Later, it was fourth-and-goal at the 3.
Williams caught a slant and Davie’s lead was down to 31-30.
“They’d run the fade, fade, fade and we had our best corner (Joe Watson) on their best receiver,” Illing said. “Their best made a play.”
North lined up for a tying extra point, but coach Mark Holcomb rolled the
dice with a gutsy call of his own. Holder Josh Moser pitched to kicker Shawn Williams, and Williams won a footrace to the pylon.
Penalties crippled Davie’s offense in the final two minutes, and it was left to wonder where it all went wrong.
“They went for the win,” Illing said. “Give them credit. They may have caught us a little offguard there, with our chin down.”

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