Reid Davis has learned a few things this season, certainly a few more than he expected.
The Madison High School football team has soared to historic heights with its first-ever playoff berth and two postseason victories, with the Mohawks set to meet West Jefferson for the Division V, Region 20 title Friday night at Beavercreek.
Davis will be there, grateful to be starting at split end.
WEEK 11: Madison 14, Anna 10
“After every game, it’s a sense of euphoria,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior said. “But we know we just got our job done. It’s kind of like a lunch-box mentality. We just go and do our job, and then we come back. It hasn’t really sunk in how much we’ve really changed this football program and this community.”
How he got here individually is a story of humility and dedication.
Davis and Mason Whiteman both played quarterback for Madison last season and entered this year in a similar situation. One couldn’t beat out the other, so Mohawks coach Steve Poff used both.
And then Madison got off to a 1-2 start. At that point, Poff decided the team needed some continuity across the board, and that included the quarterback position.
Whiteman, a junior, was the choice. And Davis became a split end for the first time in his life.
“We could’ve gone with Reid at quarterback and been successful as well,” Poff said. “The only reason I went with Mason was because of his running ability.”
Davis said he wasn’t bitter. He congratulated Whiteman, told him he was proud of him and decided to simply become the best receiver he could be.
It’s not a demotion to move from one starting spot to another starting spot. Yet Madison almost never throws the ball, so it’s fair to say that split end is the loneliest position in its lineup.
“I had the choice to feel sorry for myself, but I knew that wasn’t going to be what’s good for the team,” Davis said. “I knew we were going to make the playoffs and I wanted to be a part of it, not just feel sorry for myself and then not be a part of it.”
Davis was still in the learning process as a receiver when he suffered a shoulder injury in the Week 5 game against Oakwood. He was the holder an extra-point attempt, and an errant snap led to him throwing a pass and getting hurt on the tackle.
It was another blow to a senior who entered the season with high hopes to be a major contributor. But he pressed on.
Davis sat out a couple weeks and played with a sore right shoulder for a while, but he’s getting back to full strength now and adding some blocking ability on the edge. Davis has caught three balls for 53 yards and a touchdown, though his last reception came in Week 9 at Waynesville.
“It’s another tight end, just 10 yards out of the way,” he said of his position. “It’s not a big deal to me whether or not I’m getting the touches.
“We had zero passing yards last week,” Davis added with a smile. “We’re run dominant, but I’m proud to be a part of it. My main goal is just going downfield and getting that last block to get … whoever it is into the end zone.”
Poff said Davis provides physicality as a blocking receiver and is fully capable of stepping in at quarterback if something happens to Whiteman. More importantly, the Madison coach said Davis has been a model senior leader.
“If he’s been disappointed, it has not reflected to the team,” Poff said. “Reid is still a huge part of the team. He’s never selfish. He never comes back to the sideline pouting or mad. He’s glad when we win and glad to be blocking when he doesn’t have the ball, which is almost all the time.”
But Davis said he’ll be ready and willing to make a catch if Whiteman drops back to pass with the game on the line.
“Absolutely,” Davis said. “If we do have to throw, I’ll be there for it.”
What: Division V, Region 20 final, Madison (10-2) vs. West Jefferson (12-0) at Beavercreek, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Frank Zink Field at Miami Valley Hospital Stadium, 2660 Dayton-Xenia Road, Beavercreek
Madison playoff history: 2-0 in one appearance (2017)
West Jefferson playoff history: 23-17 in 20 appearances (1976, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2017), winning state titles in 1976 and 1982