Davie tops North Davidson 45-42 in quarterback showdown
By Brian Pitts
For the Salisbury Post
MOCKSVILLE — Davie’s final homecoming game at the Mocksville campus belongs in a Hollywood script.
It was Davie vs. visiting North Davidson, old rivals meeting for the 49th time as War Eagles approach the end of their 61-year existence on Salisbury Street before the opening of a new school six miles down the road.
It was Chris Reynolds of Davie vs. Joe Butts of the Black Knights, two classic quarterbacks who dueled as if they were on Tecmo Bowl.
The War Eagles jumped ahead 14-0 less than three minutes into the game and held on for dear life, 45-42, in an outrageously wild shootout that left players drained and fans breathless.
“Chris is special, but so is Joe,” Davie interim head coach Tim Devericks said. “Those guys have some kind of magic. We were bringing pressure, they were bringing pressure and you just can’t seem to get them down. The scramble drill on both sides was a big factor in the game. They were dodging the blitz and keeping their eyes upfield. Do you slow bleed or do you get punctured? Luckily, we had three more points.”
Davie improved to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference. With West Forsyth beating Mt. Tabor 31-27, the War Eagles are alone in first place heading into their bye week. North slipped to 5-3, 1-2.
With a standing-room-only crowd on hand, Davie fans had never, ever seen anything like what Reynolds did. He went 27 of 43 for 413 yards with five touchdown passes against one interception. He tied the Davie record for TD passes in a game (four) in the first quarter and broke the mark in the fourth. The passing yards were a Davie record, surpassing Garrett Benge’s 384 against West Rowan in ’06. He matched his own record for completions in a game; he also had 27 in last year’s loss at North. There have been four Davie games ever with 25 completions, and Reynolds owns all four.
Reynolds hooked up with Cooper Wall (10 catches for 124 yards and three TDs), Beau Byerly (5-129), Tyler Roberts (5-73), Mason Wilson (3-60).
“I don’t have words for it,” Devericks said. “Chris can make the routine play. He can make the spectacular play. The special thing about Chris, he knows what he’s going to do before the ball is snapped. A couple of times we had run plays called and he threw it because he saw what the coverage was giving him.”
But Davie got all it could handle from Butts and Co. North’s QB went 24 of 42 for 384 yards, throwing four TDs to offset two picks. Running back T.J. Boyce had 19 carries for 208 yards and three TDs as North outgained Davie 619-488. Davie helped itself by coming up with four of the game’s five turnovers.
“It was an awesome game from start to finish,” Reynolds said. “Joe Butts, one of my good friends, had a heckuva game, too. Everybody played a great game.”
Davie came out breathing fire in Devericks’ debut as head coach (DeVore Holman resigned for personal reasons two days earlier). Roberts scored on a 41-yard pass play on Davie’s third snap. One play after Broc Barnette recovered a North fumble, Wall caught a 35-yard TD, and it was 14-0 with 9:14 left in the first quarter. Jared Griggs’ 31-yard field goal made it 17-0.
North got it going on its fourth possession, going 80 yards to get on the board. Then Reynolds hit M. Wilson for 49 yards down the sideline before connecting with Byerly for a 12-yard TD that made it 23-7. North answered when Boyce broke a 70-yard run to the end zone. Then Reynolds hit Byerly for 38 yards to the North 4 before Wall’s 4-yard TD gave Davie a 29-14 lead with seven seconds left in the first quarter.
Angel Perez-Hunt’s interception for Davie set in motion a 12-play drive that culminated in Griggs’ 22-yard field goal, and Davie had its largest lead at 32-14. For North, Boyce started between the tackles, then bounced outside and sped 56 yards to paydirt.
Three minutes later, Davie sacked Butts and knocked the ball loose on a play that began at the North 26. The ball kept pinballing back until Spencer Wilson scooped and scored from the 3, and Davie led 38-21.
Undaunted, North covered 81 yards in six plays and 1:18, and it was 38-28 at intermission.
The War Eagles remained hot at the outset of the third quarter, but on third-and-goal from the 5, Nygil Dalton intercepted Reynolds at the North 2. Ten plays later, Russell was in the end zone — on a 25-yard reception – as Butts engineered a 10-play, 98-yard drive. Now Davie’s lead was trimmed to 38-35.
Davie wasn’t about to go anywhere. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Reynolds hit Wall for his record-breaking fifth TD, a 53-yard play that pushed Davie’s lead to 45-35.
“It was in the back of my mind; I had tied it a couple of times,” Reynolds said. “But by the time Cooper scored that touchdown, my mind was already to the next drive because we knew they were going to come back firing, and I had to figure out how to finish this game.”
A little more than three minutes later, Davie cornerback De’Maura “Mo-Mo” Isaac made a heroic play when North had first-and-goal at the 8. Butts went to Boyce, who was swinging out in the right flat. He was open for a moment, but Isaac got to the spot in time to intercept it at the 1 and return it 53 yards.
When Cody Hendrix and S. Wilson sacked Butts for a 10-yard loss and Davie got a turnover on downs with 4:45 left, Davie’s 10-point lead seemed pretty safe. But North’s defense got a three-and-out, and on first down, Dalton caught a pass, got a crushing block near midfield and raced 81 yards to chop the margin to 45-42 with 3:28 to go.
Reynolds and Roberts performed a hitch-and-go masterfully, a 30-yard play that put the ball at the North 34. But Davie stalled. Griggs came to the rescue with a punt that checked up at the North 1.
North was staring at 99 yards with 1:38 on the clock. Hendrix sacked Butts at the North 19. North picked up three first downs, but it was out of timeouts and Butts spiked the ball to stop the clock with nine seconds left at the North 44. James Boyle tackled a scrambling Butts at the North 48 with zeroes on the clock.
The War Eagles had their first win over North since 2011 and their fifth payback win of the season. Earlier, they got revenge on Page, West Rowan, Reagan and West Forsyth.
It was a bittersweet night for Devericks, who has been a Davie assistant since 2005 and the defensive coordinator since 2014.
“It was really hard for me,” he said. “One of my career goals was to be a head coach, but no one wants to do it in this kind of situation. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, but (Holman) reassured me and gave me full confidence. Him having my back means a lot.”
Wall, a junior, produced nine or more catches for the fourth time in his decorated career. That matched a school record.