Davie advances with win over SE Guilford
By Brian Pitts
For the Salisbury Post
MOCKSVILLE — It was not the most inspiring start for Davie County’s football team, the War Eagles falling behind, 8-0, and watching Southeast Guilford recover an onside kick in the first three minutes of last night’s first-round 4A playoff game at War Eagle Stadium.
The Falcons’ offense was on the field for the first two possessions of the game. But once Davie got to touch it, there was no stopping the War Eagles, as they roared to a 42-14 rout.
Davie, the top seed in the 4A West bracket, improved to 11-1 with its ninth straight win. The No. 8 Falcons finished 6-6.
“I was worried for a little while, but I knew once the defense got going, then we’d be fine,” Davie running back Peyton Hampton said. “The onside kick didn’t help with the momentum, but once we got the momentum back, we played our game and did well.”
SE Guilford’s 18-wheeler fullback, Chad Stephens, rumbled 46 yards on the game’s third play, halfback Miles Fairley scored from the 3-yard line and Fairley converted a two-point run to stake the visitors to the 8-0 lead. It was Davie’s first deficit in five games, dating to Sept. 30. Then Fairley recovered a surprising onside kick.
Four plays later, however, Fairley lost a fumble — the first of four SE Guilford turnovers — and Davie marched 70 yards to tie the game. Hampton’s 28-yard reception led to Chris Reynolds’ 1-yard touchdown run. Hampton’s two-point run tied it at 8-8, and Davie was off and running toward 28 unanswered points.
Outside linebackers Jack Little and Kinston Whitener turned in outstanding efforts, and Little made two big plays in the first half. The first came on fourth-and-5 from the Davie 15. SE Guilford tried a jet sweep and Little buried Justin Guy four yards back as the ground-oriented Falcons came up empty, despite a 16-play drive that devoured seven minutes. Less than three minutes later, Little intercepted a pass to set up a touchdown run by Hampton, who motored through a gaping hole to give Davie a 14-8 lead.
“We had to do a little something different based on what they were running on offense,” coach Tim Devericks said. “We ended up playing with four linebackers. Jack had a great week of practice and he did a phenomenal job tonight. Jack and Kinston were trying to set the edges. (SE Guilford) had some big guys coming at them, but they really fought their tails off and bided enough time for everyone else to get there.”
After Fairley fumbled at SEG’s 18, the devastating Reynolds-Cooper Wall combination struck on first down. With Wall going one-on-one against Anthony Badgett, he went over the cornerback on a fade route for an 18-yard TD that provided a 22-8 halftime lead.
“I knew Chris was going to lead me into the end zone,” Wall said. “I just had to get possession of the ball and I could fall after that. They played the safety in the middle of the field most of the night.”
Davie was up two scores despite SE Guilford’s huge advantage in time of possession (the Falcons ran 40 first-half plays to Davie’s 22).
On the opening possession of the second half, Reynolds hit Wall on a go route for a 37-yard TD. Again, Wall beat Badgett’s one-on-one coverage. It was 28-8 and SE Guilford was reeling.
“They ran man coverage the whole time,” Reynolds said. “That’s what we saw on film. We got the opportunity we wanted. I’ll take Cooper one-on-one with anybody.”
The Falcons methodically drove 52 yards in 13 plays to get back within striking distance at 28-14. But Davie responded with the knockout punch. It was vintage Reynolds on third-and-20 as the senior QB found Wall for 21 yards. Adrian Cranfill ran 27 yards on the next play, and the freshman scored from the 1 to make it 35-14 late in the third.
After Cranfill ripped off Davie’s longest run of the year (53 yards), Reynolds capped the scoring with a 19-yard TD pass to senior Daparis Lytton, who made the most of his first catch in two years at Davie.
Davie’s offense was a machine again, scoring three TDs in a span of 4:25 in the middle quarters and at one point reaching the end zone on five straight possessions.
Davie’s 42-point output is all the more impressive considering it ran 37 plays to SE Guilford’s 68. The Falcons did nothing in the air, but Stephens and Fairley combined for 246 rushing yards on 48 carries.
Davie’s six TDs were scored by five different guys. Reynolds was an efficient 11 of 16 for 187 yards, with three TDs. It was balanced with 157 rushing yards, including 92 from Cranfill. Wall had five catches for 84 yards.
Notes: This was the War Eagles’ first playoff win in four years. … Davie owns its best 12-game record in 10 years (they were 11-1 in 2006). … Safety Hite Merrifield got his fifth interception, the most for Davie in nine years. Little’s pick was his second and Davie’s 17th.
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