Chris Reynolds: Davie County’s record-setting quarterback
Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2016
By Mike London
MOCKSVILLE — Back in August, Davie County scrimmaged in the Mooresville Jamboree, and quarterback Chris Reynolds watched a shotgun snap soar 10 yards over his head.
It wasn’t how the War Eagles drew it up, but for Reynolds it was just another opportunity to make something good happen. He scooped up the ball like a shortstop, dodged two defenders and eluded two more while sprinting madly to his left. Just before he reached the line of scrimmage and just before he was wrestled to the turf, he whipped a strike to a receiver for a 20-yard gain.
Davie fans have been watching Reynolds pull rabbits out of hats the last two seasons, turning potentially negative plays into astounding ad libs and marvelous memories. He throws as accurately running for his life as he does standing calmly in the pocket, and that makes him a very unique high school QB.
“That kid is special, and a kid like that can take you a long way,” West Rowan coach Joe Nixon said.
Nixon predicted back in August Davie would win the Central Piedmont Conference, and the War Eagles have been busy trying to prove him right.
North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl quarterbacks — Greensboro Dudley’s Hendon Hooker and Greensboro Page’s Will Jones have higher ceilings because they’re 6-foot-4, but there’s probably not a more exciting player in the N.C. school ranks than the 5-foot-11 Reynolds. He’s led Davie to an 8-1 overall record and a 4-0 start in the Central Piedmont Conference.
“I’ve been short since I was born,” Reynolds said with a laugh. “So I’ve had to find some other ways to keep things rolling.”
Reynolds threw for 413 yards and broke the Davie single-game record for touchdown passes last Friday. He tossed five TDs in a wild, 45-42 CPC shootout against North Davidson and the Black Knights’ outstanding QB Joe Butts.
Reynolds had four TD passes in the first quarter. That’s right — the first quarter.
“That probably was the most fun game I’ve had,” Reynolds said. “Joe is a really good friend from baseball, and it was just really exciting. I’ll have some memories.”
Reynolds will play at the next level, although his size means that he’ll have to find a program willing to think outside the box. He’ll have to find a coach who will give him a chance.
Western Carolina, Furman and Coastal Carolina have shown interest because Reynolds has been to the quarterback camps and his numbers and his ability to make plays are hard to ignore. But he believes his most likely destination is Charlotte. He still hopes to get a scholarship offer, but he may be joining the 49ers as a preferred walk-on.
“Whatever college gets him is going to be lucky,” Devericks told Davie County Enterprise Record reporter Brian Pitts. “He might not show the measurables that people want on paper, but that kid has heart and he is a competitor.”
For the season, Reynolds has completed 128 of 216 passes (59 percent) for 1,605 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s done that against one of the state’s stiffer schedules. Davie has taken on ninth-ranked Page, West Rowan, top-ranked Dudley, West Forsyth and North Davidson.
Reynolds’ stats have been rung up in seven games. Davie rested him for two non-conference games so he could heal the ankle he injured against West Rowan the second week of the season. The plan was to still have him in one piece for the CPC battles, and it’s worked out.
“It was only the second play of the West Rowan game when I got hurt,” Reynolds said. “One guy tackled me and then another one fell on my ankle. I kind of limped through that game and then the Dudley game (Davie’s only loss). It was the worst thing ever having to miss those two games, but it was a sacrifice I needed to make to get healthy. I’m still not 100 percent, but now I’m about 95 percent.”
Reynolds, as shifty as a halfback, carried the ball 164 times as a junior when he had 745 rushing yards for the season and racked up 100-plus ground yards four times.
He’s still a running threat, but he hasn’t tucked the ball and taken off nearly as often this year.
“Part of that’s been the ankle and part of it is to limit the number of hits,” Reynolds said. “But the biggest factor has been our offensive line doing such a great job. I haven’t had to scramble as as much.”
Reynolds also has learned how to use his mobility to extend plays. He’s no longer taking off at the first hint of trouble. Now, even as he glides around, his eyes are constantly surveying the field, looking for the big pass play, and he has four productive receivers in Cooper Wall (10 TD catches), Beau Byerly (6 TDs), Tyler Roberts and Mason Wilson.
Reynolds’ early years were spent in New Jersey. His introduction to organized football came in third grade.
“I played middle linebacker,” Reynolds said.
The move to offense came at the same time as his move to North Carolina. He was a running back first. Then his seventh grade coach with the Mocksville Rams — that was Brent Wall, Cooper’s father — tried him at quarterback. Wall saw the leadership as well as the arm. There’s a thin line between cocky and confident, but Reynolds always has walked on the right side of that line.
He patiently waited his turn at Davie. Two classes ahead of him was Parker Correll, a stud athlete and one of the most prolific passing QBs in Davie history.
Reynolds quarterbacked the jayvee team as a freshman. He was on the varsity as a sophomore. He played slot receiver and defensive back while serving as the backup QB.
When Reynolds’ junior year came around, coach DeVore Holman knew who his quarterback would be and who his offensive leader would be.
One of the first teams to encounter Reynolds was East Rowan in a preseason scrimmage.
“Davie has a gunslinger,” East coach Kenneth McClamrock announced.
Reynolds was fantastic as a junior, rushing for 12 TDs and throwing for 28. He passed for 2,894 yards for a 5-7 team. Davie made the 4A playoffs, and in the first round, against powerhouse Scotland County, Reynolds threw for 317 yards and ran for 103. Davie lost, 44-36.
His senior year, even with the ankle, has been more satisfying because the wins have been piling up. Davie has a better running game and a lot more defense. Davie has beaten five teams — Page, West Rowan, Reagan, West Forsyth and North Davidson — that it lost to last season.
“For our whole senior class, it’s been big,” Reynolds said. “We put so much work into this in the offseason, and we got better in all three phases of football.”
When Reynolds got banged up against West Rowan and Wall suffered a rib injury on a hit at Dudley, things looked bleak, but the War Eagles went 2-0 without them — including a 7-6 win against North Rowan — and then things got back on track.
More adversity arrived last Tuesday when the War Eagles received the startling news that Holman would no longer be the head coach, and that defensive coordinator Tim Devericks had been elevated to interim head coach.
“It was upsetting, but my job as the quarterback was to keep things as upbeat as possible going into the North Davidson game,” Reynolds said. “We’re all behind Coach Devericks, and we’re going to play as hard as we can for him as well as for Coach Holman.”
North Davidson accomplished things few teams have been able to do against Davie. The Black Knights stopped Davie’s running game and scored 42 points on a team that had been allowing 12 per game.
Still, Davie won. Mostly because the tradeoff for putting an extra defender or two in the box was single coverage on Davie’s wideouts.
While Davie led 28-7 early, the War Eagles’ lead was down to 38-35 heading to the fourth quarter. That was Reynolds’ cue to make the a pivotal play.
“They walked up the safeties on the edge, and that meant man coverage on the receivers with no help in the middle,” Reynolds said.
There were two wide receivers on each side, with Wall as the outside man on the right. Wall was Reynolds’ first look. Wall sprinted past his defender, and Reynolds hit him in stride slicing to the open middle of the field. The play went for 53 yards and the decisive touchdown.
Later, there was a 30-yard connection with Roberts on a pump-and-go that helped kill precious minutes, and the War Eagles held on for their sixth straight victory.
Davie is off this Friday and will rest, heal and refocus before it takes on Mount Tabor and Parkland to close the regular season.
Then it will be time for the 4A playoffs, and it’s certain Reynolds will make a few more memories in Mocksville.