Yadkin River Rivalry: West Forsyth travels to Davie County with both teams hoping to rebound after losses last week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier

Both the West Forsyth and Davie County football teams were undefeated in Central Piedmont 4-A play and controlled their destinies to win the Central Piedmont 4-A football championship before last Friday’s games.

With this week’s showdown between West Forsyth at Davie County ahead, all that stood between that game of unbeaten conference teams was West Forsyth’s home game against Reagan and Davie County’s trip to Mount Tabor.

That big matchup came crashing down last Friday after Reagan (2-5, 2-2) upset West Forsyth 35-26, and Mount Tabor (3-4, 1-3) upended Davie County 35-34.

“They’ve just got to understand that is like a three-week playoff for the conference championship,” Coach Kevin Wallace of West Forsyth said. “So, we’ll see. I mean, we’ve just got to worry about this week and playing over there at Davie and controlling what we can control and let the chips fall where they may.”

Reagan had been struggling before last Friday’s game at West Forsyth. However, West Forsyth had five turnovers and 16 penalties for 158 yards.

“We’ve got to tighten up what we do,” Wallace said. “(Davie is) a good team, and we’re going to have to play well, play a lot better than we did the other night and demand more of them. Hopefully, we’ll (see how everybody) responds (this past) Monday practice. And that’s the biggest thing. We’ve just got to see, preaching to them now, you know, it hurts on Friday night, but that pain’s also got to happen Monday through Thursday for them to be better this week.”

Although Davie County wasn’t plagued by penalties (three for 15 yards) and turnovers (two), Mount Tabor was able to hang in. Mount Tabor led 35-28, but Davie County scored with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter after Ethan Driver caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ty Miller to trim the lead to 35-34. However, Shamarius Peterkin of Mount Tabor blocked the extra point to preserve the lead and Mount Tabor held on for the win.

“Even though they were told a 100 times it’d be a dogfight and a physical game, I think until, you know, the fourth quarter for them to realize, hey, ‘This team is very physical,’ or ‘This team can execute,’ Coach Tim Devericks of Davie County said.

“And Mount Tabor at that time had the momentum, and so they were riding that wave of momentum.”

It was frustrating for Devericks and the rest of the coaching staff to see how the War Eagles played against the Spartans last Friday.

“You’ve got to get back to work,” Devericks said. “You’ve got to do, you know, look at some small things that maybe you missed. And you know when things are going well, you might overlook or miss some small things, and those come up big in games like last Friday.”

Wallace is hoping Friday’s loss to the Raiders will be a good learning experience for the Titans.

“I hope,” he said. “We’ve got to correct some things. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to limit the penalties, and we were not very disciplined on Friday night, and it’s getting really annoying. And so, we’ve got to correct that.”

By both teams losing last Friday, they let East Forsyth (6-1, 3-1), which lost to Davie County 41-28 on Sept. 22. Even Reagan and Glenn (3-4, 2-2) aren’t out of the conference race.

“With our kids, I don’t think the looks on their faces on Friday, I think it was already sunk in,” Devericks said. “I just tried to tell them on Friday, ‘Hey, we celebrated a win for a night. You know, we’re going to dwell on the loss for a night, and then we’ve got to get back to work.”

The Titans know it is ahead of them this week, especially playing on a big rival’s field.

“Uh, if they don’t learn that, we have to learn that we have to limit the distractions…,” Wallace said. “So, I think we’ll be OK. I think they’ll learn from last week — what we did wrong and what we need to correct — and hopefully be better moving forward.”

After this week’s game, West Forsyth travels to Reynolds (2-5, 1-3) next week and closes the regular season on Oct. 27 against East Forsyth (6-1, 3-1). Davie County’s last two games are at home against Parkland (4-3, 1-3) and at Glenn. East Forsyth plays host to Reynolds this week, plays next week at home against rival Glenn and finishes the regular season at West Forsyth.

“We didn’t know that at the time (results of West Forsyth’s loss to Reagan and East Forsyth’s win against Parkland) however, you know things kind of, I guess, fell this way, and you’ve got to get ready to go,” Devericks said.

The War Eagles finished last season 4-7 overall, and one of the main reasons they’re so much better this season is the defense’s improvement. Last season, they scored 328 points and gave up 385 through 11 games. Through seven games this season, they’ve outscored their opponents 292-169.

“Those guys have worked hard,” Devericks said. “We’re at the point now where we’re not playing sophomores. We have a few sophomores that play, but not many. And it’s just, you know, gaining experience and having some older kids be able to play.”

One thing the War Eagles’ defense will be especially aware of is the play of Titans’ running back Caman Chaplin. He finished with 365 yards rushing on 36 carries and three touchdowns against the Raiders, and he also caught a touchdown pass.

“You’ve just got to get as many hats as you can to the ball,” Devericks said. “And he’s going to get yards, but it’s the yards after contact and things that make him a really special runner.”

In contrast, West Forsyth stopped itself on several possessions against Reagan. One reason could be that it didn’t have receiver Jordan Stephens, a 5-8, 150-pound senior. Wallace said Stephens broke his collarbone during the Glenn game two weeks ago and will miss the rest of the regular season.

“It was the last two drives,” Wallace said. “We’ve got to see some things. We had some things open and just didn’t execute it. So, we’ll show them on film, hopefully learn from it and grow from it and move forward off that.”

Markel Summers, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior, led Davie County in rushing last week against Mount Tabor. He finished with 108 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Miller, a 6-1, 195-pound junior, was 27-of-38 passing with three touchdowns and an interception against Mount Tabor.

“Obviously, everyone wants to talk about Ty and Markel, but I think where in years past we might’ve had one, maybe two wide receivers, we have four guys now who have multiple catches in games,” Devericks said. “I think that makes it a little bit more difficult in trying to take away one certain person.

“I think that’s what Ty has done a good job of as an experienced quarterback returning is just taking what’s there, and that makes a big difference as the game goes on.”

Davie County finished with 432 total yards last week against Mount Tabor, but West Forsyth did even better with 536.

“They play sound defense, and they’ve made some plays,” Wallace said of Davie County. “They’re kind of looking like a bend-but-don’t-break type of defense. So, we’ve to run it offensively. Hopefully, we can stop a couple of series. You know, they’re very explosive on offense, and hopefully, we can clean up some of that stuff and be better this week than we were last week and the week before.”