Ricky Davis’ first game as the Madison High School varsity head football coach didn’t go as he had hoped for, but everything else has.
A hometown hero of sorts, Davis was a local football/baseball youth standout. But he would display those skills first at Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller High School and then at Fenwick, where he transferred to as a senior. A quarterback, that led to a four-year football career at Youngstown State University.
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Just 25 years old, Davis is among the state’s youngest head coaches.
“It’s been good,” he said. “The community has opened up and welcomed me with open arms. This is where I was born and raised so this is a dream of mine.”
But reality can be cruel. The Mohawks made their Week 1 debut with Davis as head coach last Friday, a 42-6 meltdown to visiting Franklin.
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Despite the outcome, hopes for Madison football moving forward were as strong as ever. That’s the kind of thinking former head coach Steve Poff instilled in the Mohawks program. It’s also what Davis is looking to rally around.
This is not the Madison football program that had historic Division V playoff appearances the last two seasons. Loaded with uncommon depth, 18 starters from last year’s 12-1 team graduated.
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Even more of an impact, running backs Jake Phelps and Gabe Higgs, who combined for nearly 1,200 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns as juniors, are lost for the season while recovering from blown knees. They would have started on defense, too.
Who the Mohawks didn’t lose from last season was Poff. He’s now a go-to assistant coach whose can-do attitude worked so well with the Mohawks those two program-defining seasons.
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Madison senior quarterback Quincy Brown, a converted receiver, also is a promising hit. At 6 feet 3 and 190 pounds, he’s mobile and effective at running the offense. He also scored Madison’s only touchdown on a short run.
Also, Franklin (1-0) is everything as advertised; deep in depth, experienced, on a mission to contend for a Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title and looking for a return to the D-III playoffs.
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Madison (0-1) didn’t lose any ground in its bid for a third straight SWBL Buckeye Division title because Franklin represented a crossover matchup that doesn’t count toward league play. Madison’s other non-league crossover games are Week 3 against visiting Valley View and Week 9 at Monroe.
“It wasn’t exactly the outcome we wanted, but we were limited,” Davis said. “There’s no excuse, but we had guys going constantly hurt. It just wasn’t ideal how we wanted it to end.”
Madison is at Cincinnati Reading (0-1) on Friday.
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