High School Sports

Rocky Mount junior comfortable on ‘Revis Island’

Rocky Mount's Detrell Revis (31) picks off a pas in the NCHSAA 3A East regional final at Havelock High School.
Rocky Mount's Detrell Revis (31) picks off a pas in the NCHSAA 3A East regional final at Havelock High School. newsobserver.com

Remember that old Revis Island Nike commercial about NFL cornerback Darrelle Revis at the peak of his pro career? Rocky Mount junior Detrell Revis has flipped the script on the New York Jets veteran that the family says is a distant cousin.

Detrell Revis scored on a 99-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the final minute last week to advance the Gryphons’ football team to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state finals. The team faces Belmont’s South Point High at 11:05 a.m. on Saturday at Wake Forest’s BB&T Stadium in Wake Forest.

The script for the 2010 Revis commercial was any receiver the Jets’ All-Pro corner covered was stranded on an island because his quarterback didn’t risk throwing the ball anywhere near his direction.

However, “Detrell Revis’ Island” is an offensive play. He found an isolated spot behind the secondary when everybody knew Rocky Mount had to throw the ball. The Gryphons were on their 1-yard line with 32 seconds to play and no timeouts last week against Havelock in the NCHSAA East Regional 3A title game.

Detrell starts at safety, but Rocky Mount coach Jason Battle sent him into the game in the slot for the first-down snap.

“He’s a smart football player, and in the back of his mind he was due for a big play,” Battle said. “I thought we needed a little more speed to stretch the field, and that made him a good choice.”

Revis read the safeties and sprinted to a hole in the zone coverage in the middle of the field at about the 30-yard line. Rocky Mount quarterback Shabios Lynch hit him and Revis turned for the end zone.

“I saw the free safety over the top walk down (closer to the line),” Revis said. “He wasn’t guarding me, but I ran to his area. I was thinking catch the ball and run.”

From the island Detrell found himself on, he had to throw in a zig-zag to shake one defender that had an angle on him, but he otherwise finished his full sprint into the end zone. The score tied the game and Rocky Mount won 34-33 in triple overtime.

Rocky Mount plays two-platoon football, which explains why the safety and punt and kick returner was on offense for only one snap. The coaches saw he was a big hitter as a freshman and ticketed him for defense first. He’s been a varsity starter for every game since his sophomore season.

“He’s grown a little bit more and more with each game,” Battle said. “He understands his role. Along with being a smart player, his speed and athleticism allows him to do a good job for us.”

Celebrating Revis’ dramatic play to earn a berth in the state finals might overshadow preparations for this week’s game, but the Gryphons are playoff veterans. Rocky Mount-South Point is a rematch of last year’s 3A final that Rocky Mount won 24-21 in overtime.

“We haven’t discussed (the Havelock win) all week,” Battle said. “We were fortunate to win, but our minds are on what we have to do to win a state title. You don’t ever want to get used to playing (deep into the state tournament), but we have to stay focused.”

Despite Revis’ success as a two-year starter with speed and physical play, he said the only school that he’s heard from to date is Auburn. But he’s nonplussed by the lack of attention, thanks to a Revis first cousin, Dede Revis.

“She tells me not to get big-headed,” Detrell said. “She told me to be patient and keep working hard.”

He’s comfortable alone on Revis Island.