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MOCKSVILLE — Davie County coach Devore Holman was searching for defensive answers with the War Eagles allowing 28 points a game entering last night’s test against CPC-co-leader West Forsyth. He overhauled the unit, changing to a 3-3-5, and the defense promptly sparked a team desperately seeking a rebirth.
The defense drank their milk to the bottom of the glass, ate their fruits and vegetables, looked both ways before crossing and took the stairs instead of the elevator.
In other words, the defense couldn’t have performed much better – and still Davie lost 15-10 to the visiting Titans, who improved to 8-1, 4-0 with their sixth straight win. Davie fell to 2-6, 0-3.
The War Eagles never trailed until 5:12 remained, and they held a lead for a span of 39:05 before ending up on the short end of the defensive slugfest.
“Our defense played extremely, extremely hard, and I’m very proud of the effort that we got,” Holman said. “We gave up two or three big plays, but our kids bowed their necks and fought their tails off.”
West coach Adrian Snow breathed a sigh of relief.
“When it comes to West and Davie, I don’t care what record somebody has, it’s going to be a dogfight, a slugfest, and it’s been like that for six years,” Snow said. “It’s a war. We told our kids that all week. I think they believed that. It’s just one of those things, when you get here you’ve got to see it and understand that.”
The hard-luck War Eagles were cursing the football gods, and who could blame them? They finally got their defense on track and star running back Cade Carney got inured early and was a shell of himself from there on. On his first carry, he burst 15 yards – but sprained an ankle. Shortly later, he sprained the other ankle. Coming in with a 132-yard average, Carney finished with 11 carries for 32 yards.
“He hurt one ankle on the first play,” Holman said. “About a series later, he hurt his other ankle. So both ankles were hurting him and he couldn’t cut either way. He played some defense early (at safety) until he hurt his ankles.”
“But you know what, that joker was out there gutting it out at the end,” Snow said. “He’s a heck of a player. Our kids are very respectful
of him for the way he plays.”
A Davie sack caused a fumble that Corvonn Peebles recovered at the West 18. Carney appeared to score from the 4, but a holding penalty forced Davie to settle for Jonn Young’s 31-yard field goal and 3-0 lead.
Then Davie drove methodically for 64 yards over 13 plays. On fourth-and-5 from the West 11, Holman decided to go for it. West kept
it 3-0 by intercepting a pass.
But on Davie’s next possession, Parker Correll completed a 41-yard bomb to Ben Ellis as Davie surged ahead 10-0.
West responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive to cut Davie’s lead to 10-7. The big play came on third-and-13. Davie’s Anthony Hunckler got a
hand on a deep ball, but West’s Nick Simmons caught the deflection for a 39-yard gain to the Davie 4.
“That got us out of a hole,” Snow said. “It all comes down to making plays. You’ve got to make plays.”
Davie went into the locker room up 10-7. In the second half, its defense picked up where it had left off, but the offense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
In the second half, Davie had three first downs, minus-36 rushing yards and five punts.
“Well, our defense has played well all year,” Snow said. “There were a lot of times they could have pointed the finger and said, ‘You guys (on
offense) are sucking it up.’ But they didn’t. Our kids are in a great frame of mind. They’re pulling for each other.”
A West punt pinned Davie at its 4, and Carney was tackled in the end zone, the safety trimming Davie’s edge to 10-9.
Davie linebacker Sam Nesbit, who was magnificent all night, recovered a fumble at the Davie 17 for a defense that got stop after stop.
When Snow chose to go for it on fourth-and-2 at the Davie 39, freshman linebacker James Boyle stopped QB Darion Slade a yard short.
Finally, after Slade had only managed 37 yards on his first 17 tries, the West QB bailed his team out by breaking a 56-yarder to the Davie 10. Slade scored two plays later as West took its first lead, 15-10, with 5:12 to go.
“Slade’s athletic and if you give him enough opportunities, he’s going to make something happen,” Snow said. “We needed something. We had our
backs against the wall.”
Davie had two final shots, but it couldn’t get anything going. “Moving 43 (Peebles) from linebacker to the line made a big
difference,” Snow said of Davie’s defense. “He caused a lot of problems. And that linebacker core (Boyle, Christian Launius and
Nesbit) flew around making plays. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
“Words can’t describe how big that guy’s heart is,” Holman said of Nesbit.
If Carney has one bad ankle instead of two, maybe he could have had enough oomph to put the offense on his back like he has so often.
“That’s what happens sometimes in this game,” Holman said of the injury factor. “If they’ll stay with me, we’re going to work even harder
Monday. We’re going to get there.”

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