Prep Football: West Rowan 45, Davie 32
By Brian Pitts
MOUNT ULLA — For every jab, there was a counterpunch.
But in the end, Zay Laster, Jarvis Morgan and West Rowan were left standing after a memorable shootout against visiting Davie last night, winning 45-32.
Davie led 14-12 after one quarter, but West led 25-20 at halftime. West’s lead was 32-26 after three as it improved to 1-1. Davie fell to 0-2.
“Another classic,” West coach Scott Young said of the rivalry. “You’ve got to credit their kids because the improvement (from a 41-7 loss to Page) was awesome. And I think our kids improved (after a 21-14 loss to Mooresville).”
Davie coach Doug Illing said his team took a step in the right direction.
“I saw fight and pride in the kids,” he said. “When we get the whole thing put together, it’s going to come.”
This one turned into a circus of big plays in the opening seconds and never stopped. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Davie’s Adam Smith completed a 44-yard pass to Nate Jones. Three plays later Davie led 7-0.
But West’s C.J. Ellis returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards. Then Smith connected with Cameron Heaggans for 47 yards as Davie went up 14-6.
West’s Dinkin Miller plowed 19 yards to make it 14-12. Connor Edwards’ only pass of the game was a superb 66-yard hookup with Morgan to the Davie 5. Desmond Jackson scored on the next play as West took an 18-14 led.
Laster, who was absolutely flawless through the air, threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Morgan to make it 25-14. But Davie’s Denzel Redmon returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to make it 25-20.
The drama was relentless. Davie recovered an onside kick after Redmon’s score, and Smith fired a 36-yarder to Jae-Re Peebles, who was tackled inside the West 1 with 2.2 seconds left in the half.
Smith tried to sneak it in. There was a delay on the ruling as officials pulled bodies off the pile. Then came the call — no touchdown.
“When you’re 3 inches away and the line surges forward, what happens?” Illing said. “The ball’s got to be in. The referee said he didn’t see the ball.”
The fireworks continued in the second half.
Morgan’s 42-yard reception set up Jackson’s TD for a 32-20 West lead. Davie had fourth-and-2 at midfield, and Smith and Jones connected for a 50-yard TD as Davie pulled to 32-26.
West had it seemingly wrapped up when Logan Stoodley intercepted Smith to set up Jackson’s 1-yard TD for a 39-26 lead. But hold on — Redmon weaved through everybody for his second kickoff-return TD, this one 88 yards. Now Davie trailed 39-32 with 6:10 left.
Then Ellis got in on the act again, running for 27 yards on a fake punt on fourth-and-1 at West’s 45. Young and the Falcons could finally exhale when Laster hit Louis Kraft with a 24-yard TD with 3:10 left.
On a scale of 1-10, Laster was a 10 — literally. He was 10 for 10 for 161 yards. His favorite target was Morgan, who had seven catches for 180 yards.
The Smith-Jones combination sizzled for Davie, with Smith going 18 of 35 for 371 yards and Jones making seven receptions for 158 yards.
“This is great,” Young said. “I heard catcalls in the stands about playing Edwards, and (Laster) went 10 for 10. He lost yards in crucial situations, so he wasn’t flawless. But I don’t know that I’ve ever had a quarterback go 10- for-10 for 161 yards. The receivers made plays for him, but he put the ball where it needed to be.”