Tahlequah Daily Press

July 9, 2013

Davis delivers

After a stellar sophomore season, Davis returns to anchor Tahlequah’s defense at middle linebacker.

By BEN JOHNSON
Sports Editor

— The Baltimore Ravens are atop his list of favorite NFL teams. However, it’s not because of the recent Super Bowl victory over San Francisco.

No, Reese Davis is a Ravens fan because of perhaps the most charismatic player in the franchise’s history.

Ray Lewis.

“He’s not necessarily the best athlete,” Davis said of Lewis, “but he has a way of making people follow him.”

It’s ironic, really, since that’s how Tahlequah coach Brad Gilbert describes Davis.

“He just makes plays,” Gilbert said of his 5-foot-11, 175-pound soon-to-be junior linebacker.

“He’s not the biggest linebacker you’re going to find, but he has the ability to make plays. It’s just amazing when you watch film on Saturdays and he continues to get it done.”

As a sophomore, Davis recorded a 125 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. That certainly backs up what Gilbert was saying about him.

“He just went out and did his job,” Gilbert said.

Granted, Davis is nowhere near as flamboyant as Lewis was during his often-turbulent 17-year NFL career. But Davis is rounding into a leader for the Tigers on the defensive side of the ball.

Free safety Will Carlile and I “try to lead,” Davis said. “Will is more of the coordinator since he’s better with people than I am. We’ve been playing together for a long time, so it should work out well together.”

Gilbert said Davis has molded himself into a leader on the field, and that he has become a model citizen on the team.

“He’s a great young man,” Gilbert said of Davis. “He’s an extremely hard worker, and he’s accepted a leadership role this upcoming year. He’s also a kid that just enjoys playing football. He’s a ‘yes sir, no sir’ kind of kid.”

In addition to serving as Tahlequah’s middle linebacker, Davis will also make cameos on the offensive side of the ball in 2013, Gilbert said.

“We’re going to play him a little bit on offense,” Gilbert said. “We don’t want to use him too much, because we really need him on defense; he is the eyes of the coaching staff on defense. But he wants to win, and he’s going to do what he can to help his team win.”

Winning is something that hasn’t come easy for Tahlequah over the years. But Davis points out that things are about to change.

“We have a lot more guys that are committed this year, and that’s going to help a lot,” said Davis, whose team finished 1-9 in 2012. “Last year, we had like eight seniors total. This year we should have 15, 16, 18, I don’t know.”

On top of that, Davis said, there is more of a team concept forming with the Tahlequah team that will open its 2013 campaign against Fort Gibson in early September.

“The main key is we’re going to have to play together,” Davis said. “We’ve been playing like individuals more, and we just have to play more like a team.”