In recent weeks, Reagan’s junior varsity seems to be snake-bitten.
After opening the season with three straight wins, the Raiders suffered back-to-back losses. What’s ironic is that Reagan could easily be 5-0 at this juncture.
Against East Forsyth, the Raiders had the game under control and led 21-7 at halftime. The second half, however, proved to be disastrous and they ended up losing 28-21 on a long touchdown pass late in the game. Against Davie County, the combination of turnovers, spotty special teams play and less than spectacular defense doomed Reagan in last week’s 45-38 loss.
“We’re pleased with where we’re at, but we have to find ways to finish games,” said Coach Josh McGee. “Lately, we’re just not making enough plays and it’s costing us. So, we’ll go back and re-evaluate. Our kids have to understand what practice and preparation are all about, so that they’ll be ready when it’s time to play on Thursday nights.”
Reagan never appeared to be fully in sync against Davie County, who led 31-24 at intermission. Operating from the spread formation, the War Eagles picked up huge chunks of yardage on long runs by quarterback Chris Reynolds and running back Stephon Dalton. Despite the defensive letdowns, the Raiders managed to stay in contention.
Midway through the third quarter, Reynolds fumbled near the goal line, but the War Eagles recovered the ball in the end zone to go up 37-24. Reagan closed the gap with 1:43 left in the quarter when Trey Sullivan threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Rhoades to cut the deficit to 37-31.
Davie extended its lead at the start of the fourth quarter on Reynolds’ 20-yard scoring pass to tight end Spencer Wilson. On the two-point conversion attempt, Reynolds connected on a pass to Dustin Bulatko and the War Eagles extended their lead to 45-31.
Reagan’s offense came to life in the final minutes. Nihjel Payne scored on a four-yard run up the middle to make it a one-possession game at 45-38 with 4:06 to go. Payne’s score was set up by a flea-flicker pass from Sullivan to Quartez Barber to Isaiah Anthony that covered 52 yards.
The Raiders defense, which had been frequently torched by Davie County, came through with its biggest play of the game with 2:24 remaining. On third down and long yardage, linebacker Adam Warren sacked Reynolds for a 13-yard loss.
The War Eagles punted, but Reagan gave the ball back on a fumbled punt return. Davie County took over with 2:12 to go and ran out the clock to preserve the victory. For the game, Sullivan scored twice on touchdown runs and he threw two touchdown passes to Rhoades.
“Coach is always telling us that we have to fight for four quarters to get the win,” said Anthony, who kicked a 35-yard field goal in the first half. “We did that, but it just didn’t happen for us tonight. I feel like we’re only going to get better. We just have to clean up our mistakes and start putting games away like we did earlier this season.”