Football notebook: St. David's make big turnaround

tstevens@newsobserver.comNovember 4, 2013 

St. David’s had a huge turnaround last week when it defeated Hobgood Academy 51-14 in the first round of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association eight-man football playoffs.

Hobgood had beaten St. David’s 73-33 during the regular season.

“Lose by 40 and win by almost 40. That’s a big change,” said St. David’s coach Wes Wilder.

The Warriors have made many changes since a 1-4 start and have won five of their past six games.

“We completely revamped our offensive and defensive schemes and rearranged our people,” Wilder said. “We had people in the wrong places. We haven’t changed our personnel, just their positions.”

One of the key shifts was moving running back Melvin Briggs from linebacker to the defensive line.

“He has been tremendous in the line,” Wilder said. “He has given teams a lot of trouble with his quickness.”

The Warriors’ biggest change has been mental. Wilder was fielding a young, inexperienced team at the beginning of the year. The team has grown up and now believes in what it is doing, Wilder said.

“And teams that believe in what they are doing are tough to handle,” he said.

St. David’s gave up two quick scores to Hobgood but shut it out the rest of the way. Briggs and middle linebackers Reef Ivey and Braxton Montague had big games, but Wilder praised the rest of the front of Chris White, Kevin Godeaux, J.B. Novak and David Pierce, plus safeties William Wampler and Matt Stahl.

St. David’s will play its second-round game Friday at Rocky Mount Academy, which beat St. David’s 52-7 this season. Rocky Mount Academy is the second seed behind 2012 NCISAA champion Southampton, Va.

Offensive show: Cardinal Gibbons and Orange put on an offensive show last week as the Panthers set up a key Big Eight 3A game Friday against Southern Durham with a 49-28 victory over Cardinal Gibbons.

Cardinal Gibbons and Orange combined for 56 points and 664 yards during the first half.

Orange finished with 602 total yards, including 224 passing by Garrett Cloer. Gibbons had 555 yards, including 430 passing by Shawn Stankavage. Cardinal Gibbons wide receiver Dante DiMaggio had six catches for 271 yards.

Southern Durham and Orange are undefeated in the Big Eight 3A. They have two of the area’s most productive offenses. Southern Durham leads the area with 50.2 points per game and Orange averages 42.2.

Orange has a big statistical edge on defense. The Panthers lead the area in defense, allowing 7.8 points per game.

Hines watch: Nyheim Hines of Garner has moved to No.10 on the N.C. High School Athletic Association single-season rushing touchdown list.

Hines, a junior, has run for 38 touchdowns this season. Former Albemarle standout T.A. McLendon holds the state record with 68 rushing scores and Kevin Parks of West Rowan is second with 59. Elijah Hood of Charlotte Catholic is third (48) and Anthony Barbour of Garner (47) is fourth.

McLendon also leads in single-season touchdowns with 71. Hines is fifth, and needs one score to move into third. He has 48 touchdowns this season – 38 rushing, eight receiving and two kick returns.

Hines also has two touchdown passes.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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