By Emmanuel Morgan

CORNELIUS - Winning never gets old, and for the Davidson Day football team, that’s an understatement.  The Patriots, two-time reigning state champions, used late drama to beat Charlotte Country Day 42-35 on Oct. 11 at Bailey Middle School.

Davidson Day improved to 7-0, while Country Day fell to 4-3.

“When we had to make plays we did, the kids did it when it mattered,” Davidson Day coach Chad Grier said.

 The scoreboard seemed to light up for most of the night as both squads reached the end zones in short intervals. The score was knotted at 28 nearing halftime. With 28.5 seconds left in the second quarter, the Patriots recovered an onside kick after senior quarterback Will Grier threw a six-yard touchdown pass to H Strachan. The scrap of time was more than enough Davidson Day’s efficient offense. The Patriots marched down the field, methodically gaining yards and first downs. With two seconds left, Grier threw a 15-yard pass to junior wideout Jacob Robinson for a touchdown. Davidson Day led 34-28.                 

Even though the Patriots won, it wasn’t pretty. The offense didn’t perform to its potential. Referees’ yellow penalty flags filled the air. Davidson Day’s coaching staff and players had many miscommunications concerning personnel packages, which led to illegal substitution penalties. Holding and delays of game infractions also impacted the Patriots’ attack. 

  Country Day received the second-half kickoff and drove aggressively down the field. The drive ended with touchdown run by senior Stuckie Phillips. After the extra point, Country Day led 35-34 with 7:50 left in the third quarter.

  The next drive was the longest and most important for the Davidson Day offense. The Patriots seemed to be unstoppable as Grier and his receivers were in synch on almost every play. Senior running back Jordan Brown and senior wide out Mike Stevens were Will Grier’s main targets.

Will Grier’s 10-yard scramble for a touchdown and a two-point conversion pass to Glenn Coates gave Davidson Day a 42-35 lead. Momentum had swung. It was Davidson Day’s game to win.

 The Patriots defense was sloppy throughout. Stops against Country Day were scarce, and broken tackles led to several long Buccaneer gains.

“We definitely didn’t play our best game defensively,” Chad Grier said.

Country Day had possession late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie or possibly take the lead. The Buccaneers converted several first downs, including one on a fourth-down play. They were in Patriot territory and in a great position to score.  Time was short. 

Davidson Day’s defense stiffened, and made an outstanding play to force an incompletion on fourth down, which turned the ball over to the Patriots. After two kneel -downs, the Patriots had won.

                  “We tell our kids all year round to win the last play of the game, and tonight was one of the few times e actually got to do that,” Chad Grier said.  “This is testament to all the preparation our kids put forth before the season. They played their guts out and did what they had to do.”

                  Will Grier was 23-of-41 passing for 273 and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 167 yards and a score.  Senior running back Jordan Brown had 116 rushing yards and a touchdown. Senior Mike Stevens led the Patriots with 78 receiving yards, including a touchdown.