North pulls away from Reagan


WELCOME | All this talk by North Davidson coach Mark Holcomb about not wanting any more shootouts, well, he’ll take them if they’re one-sided in the Black Knights’ favor.

Chase Mitchell threw three touchdown passes, Tevin Tuttle intercepted two passes to set up two scores and Hunter Hoots returned a fumble for a touchdown as the undefeated Black Knights routed Reagan 45-14 on Friday at Palmer Field.

“As long as we’re on that end, I’ll take it,” Holcomb said as the huge crowd celebrated.

The Black Knights, 8-0 overall, are 2-0 in the Central Piedmont Conference and in sole possession of first place since Davie County fell 13-10 to West Forsyth.

“We’re excited to be 8-0,” Holcomb said. “Just like anything else, we have to follow it up next week. If we don’t, we’re going to be looking up at somebody. I’m really proud of the guys. They executed well. That’s a nice win against a good football program.”

Reagan, 6-2 overall, fell to 1-1 in the CPC.

“They’re a great football team,” said Reagan coach Josh McGee. “We gave them opportunities and they capitalized.”

It was that and more.

On offense, the Knights piled up 24 first downs and 395 yards. They were remarkably balanced, with 196 yards rushing and 199 yards passing.

“I’ve just got to tip my hat to our coaching staff,” Mitchell said. “We came in with a great game plan. We pretty much came out and did everything we planned to do. We just executed. That’s the bottom line.”

Tuttle’s two interceptions led to 10 points and helped blunt Reagan’s read option attack, which saw quarterback Ja’Shawn Joyner and tailback Josh Brice both go over 100 yards.

“When I got those two picks, everything started flowing,” Tuttle said. “The defense started flowing, the offense started flowing.”

It was still a 24-14 game late in the third quarter when the Knights took over at their 26. What followed was a 14-play, 74-yard drive culminated by Mitchell’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Phillips.

Lightning struck when Joyner fumbled on the first play following the kickoff. Hoots scooped up the loose ball and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown, making it 38-14 with 8:40 left in the game.

Just like that, two TDs in 11 seconds, game out of reach.

“We’re an extremely explosive football team,” Mitchell said. “We had some great opportunities, we got on a roll and that’s what happened.”

Mitchell underscored that point by connecting with Jordan Santana on an 88-yard touchdown pass with six minutes left to round out the scoring.

“I think we were opportunistic,” Holcomb said. “We made some big plays, some athletic plays.”

The Knights moved swiftly to a touchdown after Reagan tried a pooch kickoff to open the game. It took eight plays to traverse 57 yards, with Mitchell firing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Eli Moore. Spencer Landfried added the first of six PATs for a 7-0 lead with 9:37 left in the first quarter.

It didn’t take long for the Knights to get in scoring position again. On Reagan’s first play from scrimmage, Tuttle intercepted a Joyner pass and returned it 17 yards to the Raiders’ 9. That set up Landfried’s 21-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

But the Raiders struck right back on Joyner’s 42-yard touchdown strike to Dakota Pinnix, capping a five-play, 69-yard drive with 4:50 to go in the first quarter.

North used some trickery to extend its lead in the second quarter when Tuttle took an inside handoff from Mitchell and threw a long pass to Eli Moore, making it 17-7 with six minutes left in the half. Moore was wide open as the Reagan defense bit on the run to cap a seven-play, 90-yard drive. The play, which covered 49 yards, was ruled a fumble recovery in the end zone.

Reagan took the ensuing kickoff and drove from their 20 to the North 8.

But the drive stalled when Devaris Byrd flushed Joyner from the pocket and Andrew Mayton sacked him for a five-yard loss. Reagan came away with nothing when Andy Neely was wide right on a 30-yard field goal attempt.

Things started out with a bang for the Knights in the second half, just like they did to open the game.

On the third play of the third quarter, Joyner fired a long bomb to Pinnix but the ball bounced off the Reagan wide receiver and into the hands of Tuttle, who returned it 30 yards to the Raider 36. That set up Conlee Hunter’s 12-yard touchdown run and a 24-7 lead.

The Raiders struck right back with a six-play, 80-yard drive — all of it on the ground. Joyner kept it himself for a 2-yard touchdown run as Reagan cut the lead to 24-14 with 7:02 left in the third quarter.

North travels to West Forsyth next Friday.

Notes: Brice had 124 yards on 17 carries … Joyner had 114 yards on 14 carries … Mitchell was 11-of-17 for 155 yards … Hunter had 66 yards on 10 carries … Devonte Moore had 57 yards on 16 carries.



Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or mike.duprez@the-dispatch.com.