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Big second half lifts East Forsyth past Davie County, 49-21.

By Brian Pitts

For the Salisbury Post

KERNERSVILLE — On Nov. 1, East Forsyth’s backfield three-headed monster ran all over Davie County. In that regular-season meeting, it was 14-14 before East ripped off 21 straight points on the way to a 49-35 win.

In the second round of the 4A playoffs here Friday night, it was deja vu all over again for Davie.

The War Eagles were in a 14-14 dogfight at halftime. Then East, the No. 2 seed in the 4A West, scored 28 straight points to knock out No. 7 Davie, 49-21.

While the defending 4A champion improved to 10-2, Davie finished 7-6.

The War Eagles entered halftime with good vibes. When the third quarter ended, however, they were hopelessly behind, 35-14.

Early in the third period, a second-and-14 pass looked like it was going to result in a first down, but nothing more. But tight end Brendan Conway absorbed a hit, kept his footing and gained 74 yards to the Davie 1-yard line, setting up a touchdown that triggered the East avalanche.

“Against a good team like East Forsyth, one play can get them rolling,” Davie coach Tim Devericks said. “We definitely didn’t get the start we needed in the third quarter, like we got in the first half.”

Davie quarterback Nate Hampton was sacked on the next possession, forcing a punt. Moments later, Jamison Warren reeled in a 48-yard pass to set up another short TD run to make it 28-14.

East would score on all five second-half possessions to finish with 619 yards of offense. Quarterback Ty Lyles was masterful, rushing 11 times for 109 yards and hitting 8-of-12 passes for 250 yards, a whopping 31.2-yards-per-completion average.

But East gashed Davie with several weapons. Robbin Smith (15 carries for 128 yards) and Chris Chaplin (14-88) helped East compile 369 rushing yards and average 7.3 per carry. The hosts went 4-of-7 on third down and punted just once. When Smith, Lyles and Chaplin weren’t making big plays on the ground, Warren (five catches for 158 yards) and Conway (2-82) were burning Davie’s pass defense.

“The reason they got some of those pass plays on us was because we were trying to load the box,” Devericks said. “That’s who East Forsyth is and they’re very good at it. (The run is) what we game-planned to stop, which left us a little susceptible in the passing game at times. When we had success, we were having gang tackling. But they are very tough to get on the ground.”

Davie had reason to believe in the first half. After East’s kicker missed a 32-yard field goal, the War Eagles moved 80 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead. They converted two third downs, with Tate Carney running 11 yards on third-and-9 and Hampton picking up 15 on a third-and-8 keeper. Carney scored from 13 yards out.

East rolled 92 yards to score, but a missed PAT left Davie ahead, 7-6.

Then, Davie kept the ball for 12 plays before linebacker Javon Cobbs intercepted Hampton on a play from the East 34-yard line. Davie’s defense, though, came up with a big stop as Lyles was turned back on a fourth-and-1 run from the Davie 2.

Later, on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Lyles tossed a TD to Warren. Then Lyles hit Conway with a two-point pass as East took a 14-7 lead.

Davie answered with a 73-yard drive that was sparked by Hampton’s 30-yard pass to Zymere Hudson. On third-and-7, Hampton scrambled for 17 yards to the East 10. Carney scored two plays later, tying the game at 14-14. At that point, Carney had seven TDs against East in a span of six quarters.

Carney had 17 carries for 85 yards at the half, and there was optimism for the underdogs. Hampton was running effectively, gaining 54 yards on seven runs, and keeping Davie’s offense on schedule with 11-of-15 passing.

“Our kids were right there,” Devericks said. “They knew they could play with them.”

But Davie took a nose-dive at the outset of the third quarter and wound up losing to East for the fourth straight time since 2017.

The War Eagles finished with 444 yards of offense. Carney had 21 carries for 99 yards. DeVonte Lyerly had three carries for 84 yards, scoring on a 65-yarder with four minutes left. Hampton went 21-of-36 for 208 yards. Hudson (5-for-84) was Davie’s most effective receiver.

Devericks bids farewell to 18 seniors who helped Davie wipe a bad 2018 taste out of its mouth (2-9 record on the field). It surpassed a lot of expectations with the first winning season since 2016.

“I think we had a very successful season,” Devericks said. “We stuck together and that’s what I thanked the seniors for, keeping the unity and building a foundation. There’s a lot more (than 18) who came in their freshman year, and to see those 18 guys stick with it and keep fighting when things looked bleak, I’m super proud of them for that. It’s really a great group of young men. It was a privilege to coach them.”

The second half at East was disappointing, yes, but the good news is a ton of terrific playmakers will be back in 2020 and beyond.

“I told (the sophomores and juniors) that these seniors have laid the foundation for us. Let’s continue it on,” Devericks added.

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