Big Red’s Davis credits father for success

TRIADELPHIA — Athletes are usually judged on their physical build. However, on some occasions there is that rare specimen that defies the numbers.

Growing up, Javon Davis had heard all the talk about how small he was and that he couldn’t follow in the footsteps of his father, Jose, or uncle, Nate, both of whom were outstanding quarterbacks at Bellaire High School, as well as Kent State and Ball State universities, respectively.

All the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder did was lead Steubenville (15-0) to a state championship last fall, which is something that neither of his family members could accomplish. He finished the season with 2,081 yards passing and 25 touchdowns going 133-of-215.

For the season he had, the California, Pa., University recruit has been selected to play in the Ohio North-South Division III-IV All-Star Football Game which is set for noon on Saturday inside Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I’m excited to play in this game,” the younger Davis said while working out recently at The Total Athlete.

Davis started his career at St. John Central in Bellaire and had quite a season for the Irish under his father’s tutelage.

“It was tough,” he said of playing for his father. “We did have a very good team, but he was constantly yelling in my ear. It didn’t stop when we got home, but it’s got me to the point where I’m at now,” Javon said.

When the SJC program was forced to shut down, the younger Davis not only took his talents to Steubenville, but a lot of doubters that thought he was too small to play at that level, as well.

“A lot of people did doubt me, but I never doubted myself,” Davis said. “The biggest adjustment was switching offenses. Obviously at St. John we ran the spread offense and at Big Red there were various types of offenses. There was some spread but most of it was under center.”

While Davis excelled during Big Red’s 10-0 regular season, he turned things up a notch when the playoffs rolled around.

“It was a season I will never forget for the rest of my life,” he said. “I owe it all to him (my dad). He helped me through it. I remember every night watching film with him, breaking down every team’s defense. In the off-season he always trains me and everything. Even when I didn’t want to do it, he’d always make me come down and train. Basically, I owe it all to him.

“He deserves a lot of the credit for my success, but give myself some credit, too.”

In the championship game, Davis had the game of his life as he ran for nearly as many yards as he had all season.

“That game was crazy. It was a perfect day weather-wise … 50 or 60 degrees in December, you don’t see that very often,” he said. “I thought it was meant to be. The third time was a charm.”

Davis was one of four Steubenville players selected to play in the all-star game. The others are offensive lineman Alijah Demitras, defensive lineman Quinton Moore and defensive back Johnny Agresta. Demitras and Moore will continue their football careers at Walsh University, while Agresta is heading to Ashland University.

Catholic Central’s Vince Oliver Jr., an offensive lineman, is a member of the South squad.

He is heading to Penn to continue his academic and athletic careers.

The D IV-VII South squad will be coached by Whit Parks of Fort Loramie.

River’s Mike Flannery is a member of the South coaching staff and his outstanding quarterback, Lukas Isaly, is on the squad. Two other Pilots — Drew Dietz and Drew Wagnild — were selected to play, but, according to Flannery, both have undergone knee surgery and are unable to participate.

Indian Creek’s Andy Waggoner is the Ohio Valley’s only player on the South Div. I-III club.

He will play football collegiately at John Carroll University.

The South is being coached by Justin Buttermore of Dresden Tri-Valley.

Tickets for both games cost $10 and can be purchased at the gate.