With three field goals and a pair of touchdowns, Viking special teams led the way in South Iredell’s 31-28 victory over Davie County.
The Viking secondary covered Davie County receivers effectively most of the game, preventing War Eagle quarterback Nate Hampton from finding open targets despite having considerable time to throw.
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After receiving the opening kick, Viking Darius Smyre broke a tackle and reached the sideline to scamper 92 yards to the end zone.
The South Iredell defense started just as strong as its special teams. After its defensive line chased Hampton out of the pocket, the quarterback threw across his body on the run, and Cullen Smith jumped the pass for an interception.
Alterek Adams started South Iredell’s initial drive with a 21-yard run, and Cody Hazleton capped it with a 30-yard field goal.
On Davie County’s next drive, War Eagle punter caught the snap on his knee, placing South Iredell in prime field position 40-yards from the end zone. Showing his agility, Bryce Klinger stepped up in the pocket and dodged a tackle for a 17-yard gain. On fourth down, the Vikings lined up in field goal position, and Davie County seemed to have prevented another touchdown. But the holder Garrett Page rose to throw after taking the snap, lofting a pass 24-yards to Smith for a touchdown.
With Davie County trailing 17-0 midway through the second quarter, Ivan Poag made a game-changing play by stripping Klinger of the ball. Darius Leonard recovered the fumble and returned it 19 yards getting the War Eagles on the scoreboard.
Davie County running back DeVonte Lyerly kept the War Eagle offense dangerous. His 29-yard run late in the second quarter placed his team at the South Iredell six-yard line, and Hampton scored on a six-yard quarterback keeper to make the halftime score 25-14.
After ending the first half with a score, Davie County struck first in the second half. Lyerly found a hole up the middle and dashed 41 yards, giving the War Eagles first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Hampton wasted no time, scoring on another keeper.
South Iredell’s offense slowed in the third quarter but benefited from personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called against Davie County to place the ball at the War Eagle 41-yard line. Smith showed off his hands and speed to grab a quick slant and sprint for a first down on 3rd-and-10. Hazleton’s 25-yard field goal put the Vikings ahead 28-20 with 8:14 remaining.
With Davie County still trailing by just a single score, the War Eagle offensive line began opening large holes for ball carriers. But after the offense drove to the South Iredell 29-yard line, Viking defensive lineman Ben Swing recovered an errant snap to reclaim possession.
With less than six minutes remaining South Iredell continued to pass, completing passes to Adams and Smith. Adams followed with a 30-yard run, and Hazleton nailed a 37-yard field goal putting the game out of reach.