Davie County moves to 3-0 with OT thriller over Mooresville
Published 1:57 am Saturday, September 7, 2019
By Brian Pitts
For the Salisbury Post
MOCKSVILLE — Is there a better high school football story in the state?
Davie County, which went 2-9 on the field in 2018 — with a season-ending, six-game losing streak — is defying the odds and is off to a 3-0 start this season.
Davie wrote another impassioned chapter of its best start in 13 years Friday night at War Eagle Stadium. After giving up a touchdown at the beginning of overtime, the War Eagles answered with a TD, then converted a two-point play to capture a dramatic, 31-30 win over visiting Mooresville.
In the two previous games, Davie beat Page, 28-27, by stopping a two-point conversion with five seconds remaining and it beat North Davidson, 42-31, by erasing an eight-point deficit in the second half.
“It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Tim Devericks said. “But we’ve had the belief in each other and the willingness to keep battling when the chips are against you.”
Davie built a 10-0 lead before the Blue Devils put up 16 unanswered points in the final 6:18 of the first half.
The score was still 16-10 as the Blue Devils surged into kicker Isaac Riffle’s range late in the third quarter. Hunter DeBerardino’s 16-yard completion to Ryan Jackson gave Mooresville a first down at the Davie 19 on the final play of the third quarter. The visitors were primed to make it a two-possession game until Davie senior Justice Redmon intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 35 yards.
Davie didn’t capitalize on Mooresville’s only turnover of the night, but Justus Tatum, Caleb Bowling and the defense forced a three-and-out and Davie got even with an explosive play.
QB Nate Hampton threw short to Tate Carney, who dashed through the middle, for 54 untouched yards. The extra point was wide right, leaving the game tied at 16-16, with 9:28 to go.
Davie’s momentum did not last long. Keshaun Black returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, and Mooresville regained the lead, 23-16.
Davie came right back, driving 71 yards in 10 plays. The big play came on fourth-and-9 from Mooresville 44. Hampton’s pass was intended for Carney, but Jack Reynolds secured it in traffic for 13 yards. Then Za’Haree Maddox took over, making a 15-yard reception and then hauling in an 18-yard TD on back-to-back plays. This time Guillermo Moure’s kick was good to knot things at 23-23 with 6:39 remaining.
Riffle tried a 55-yard field goal with 1:12 left for Mooresville, but it was short.
For Davie, Hampton found Reynolds for 38 yards to the Mooresville 26-yard line, but Moure’s 48-yard FG try was blocked with 13 seconds left.
The clock stopped again at :02 after Black’s 30-yard reception on a bubble screen. Riffle attempted a 57-yard FG as time expired, but it was well short.
Davie won the toss and elected to play defense in overtime. On second down, Black took an end-around handoff and scored with ease from 10 yards out. Riffle’s PAT gave Mooresville a 30-23 lead.
Davie’s first offensive play in OT resulted in a six-yard loss. On second down, Hampton fired a slant pass to Maddox, who scored, pulling his team to within one point.
“We were running low on gas — on both sides of the ball,” Devericks said. “So we decided to go for it. It’s something we haven’t done a whole lot, but Za’Haree was singled up on the back side and he made a great play. Confidence is not a problem for Za’Haree.”
Then Devericks had a decision to make: Kick for the tie or go for the win. He sent the offense back on the field. Hampton faked a pitch right to Carney, cut behind left guard Tanner Batten and converted the two-point play to set off a wild celebration.
“It was supposed to be a pitch, but both of them saw (Mooresville) bring an overload pressure to the side we were going to option on,” Devericks said. “Nate made a great play. He did the exact same thing against Page.”
DeBerardino’s 258 passing yards and two TDs went in vain for the Blue Devils. Black did everything he could to lift Mooresville, making seven catches for 133 yards and scoring three TDs in three different ways (receiving, special teams and rushing).
The War Eagles won behind Hampton (27 of 48 for 411 yards), Reynolds (eight catches for 157 yards), Carney (six catches for 112 yards) and Maddox (seven catches for 73 yards).
Hampton set the school record for pass attempts in a game and tied the record for completions. One week after throwing for the sixth-most yards ever, he delivered the second-most, falling two yards short of Chris Reynolds’ record (413 in a 45-42 win over North Davidson in 2016). The 6-5, 225-pound junior threw four touchdown passes for the second week in a row. His numbers across two games: 45-of-75 for 751 yards and eight TDs.
Reynolds, who has 14 catches for 265 yards in two weeks, reeled in the most catches in 14 games (Cooper Wall had nine in a playoff loss to Porter Ridge in 2017) and the most receiving yards in 39 games (Wall had 235 in a 39-29 win over Page in 2016).
Carney, who rotates between running back and receiver, produced 100-plus receiving yards for the second straight game.
Maddox, who missed his entire freshman year with an injury, played a major role after totaling just four receiving yards against Page and North Davidson.
Davie tries to make it four wins in a row next week, traveling to West Rowan.