Sunday, October 8, 2017

Second Half Resurgence Not Enough as Davidson Falls at Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Trailing 35-0 in the third, Davidson fought hard in the second half, finding the end zone three times, but could not catch the Dolphins on the road at D.B. Milne Field Saturday, 35-21.

With the loss, Davidson falls to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Pioneer Football League, while with the win Jacksonville improves to 4-1 and 2-0 in league action.

The Dolphins jumped out to a 35-0 lead, scoring 28 unanswered in the first half. JU quarterback Rylan Wells rushed for three scores and threw for two more. He finished with 249 yards passing and 99 on the ground.

The Wildcats, sluggish in the Florida sun early on, got new life out of the halftime locker room. Propelled down the field by a trio of JU penalties, Davidson recorded its first touchdown in eight quarters as freshman Wesley Dugger punched it across the goal line, his fourth of the season.

With a little momentum heading the ‘Cats way, senior placekicker Trevor Smith dragged the ball perfectly on an onside kick attempt and recovered it himself near midfield. The Wildcat offense retook the field and capped a 7-play, 55-yard drive with a Tyler Phelps scoring toss to William Wicks to cut the lead, 35-14. The second-year receiver from Fayetteville's Terry Sanford HS. had another exceptional day, hauling in six catches for 70 yards and the score.

The ‘Cats made it interesting in the final frame when Keylan Brown made it a two-score game midway through the fourth with a short scoring scamper. The drive was set up with a first play, 38-yard grab by Wicks. Davidson had two more chances to score but was held up and ran out of time.

Bryce Perry-Martin (Pine Forest) led a rejuvenated Wildcat defense in the second half, tallying 8.0 tackles, 2.0 for loss. Boo Jordan notched his second sack of the season, leaving him a half sack shy of entering the top 10 in program history. The Hagerstown, Md., native has 12.0 career sacks.

Phelps finished 18-of-42 for 211 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Duggers rushed 12 times for 44 yards and a score, while Isaiah Anthony returned four kicks for 113 yards.

The run-heavy Dolphins rattled off 569 total yards, 320 of those on the ground. Kennan Simpson led the way with 129 yards on19 carries. JU also known to fumble frequently, lost the ball eight times with two recovered by Davidson with one forced and recovered by Perry-Martin and the other senior Thomas Sykes (Eastern Alamance). 

Davidson returns to the Sunshine State Saturday, Oct. 14 at Stetson. Kickoff from DeLand is slated for 1 p.m.