December 15, 2011

Davis wins 1A DII title

ARLINGTON, Texas - Tenaha (Texas) quarterback and Texas Tech wide receiver commit Reginald Davis continuously looked up at the 60-yard jumbotron suspended above the playing field of Cowboys Stadium as the final minute-and-a-half ticked away in a 52-28 Texas Class 1A Division II State Championship victory Thursday.

The camera focused on Davis several times in that final moment and the Tenaha fans gave a huge ovation to their quarterback. After a six touchdown, 548 all-purpose yard performance there was no doubt Davis was going to be named the offensive Most Valuable Player of the championship game.

He was probably the best player in Class 1A this season and should be in the first breath of the state's top performers after Thursday's win.

On the first day ever of live coverage of a Texas 1A State Championship game, Davis ran for 226 yards and three touchdowns, completed 10-of-21 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt for an 80-yard touchdown and transformed from a RedRaiderSports.com cult hero into a 'can't miss' player.

"I just listened to the coaches call the plays and then I went out there and tried to execute," Davis said. "Yeah definitely, this is a dream come true."

You have to feel good for Davis, especially considering the rough trials Davis has had to go through up to this point in life.

You already know his story though.

Tenaha High School football's story also has a happy ending, and you don't know this one yet.

There's an optimistic outlook for the Tiger football program even though it graduated its Most Valuable Player at the final whistle of Thursday's game.

"You don't, you can't replace him," Tenaha offensive coordinator Scott Tyner said. "But when you get to this level and you win it, it's OK. You're going to rebuild. The thing about that, with this team, there's a group of 11 seniors that are done and have gone out with a state championship. But when you look out there, there was also a sophomore running back, a freshman safety, a sophomore and a junior linebacker.

"So there were kids out there that got the experience of playing at Cowboys Stadium, in the State Championship game, that will be back."

If you told Davis' guardian and Tenaha Independent School District superintendent Don Fallin seven years ago the Tenaha Tigers would be playing in arguably the world's best stadium in a Texas State Championship game he probably would have been beside himself. Just seven years ago the Tenaha program fielded a team of 13 players.

"Basically we had to spend 24 hours a day with the kids," Fallin said as he described rebuilding the once and currently proud program. "We had to sell that work would do it. It took, really it took three years, when these kids were sixth, seventh and eighth graders to get Tenaha back to where it had been. Tenaha used to be very good and then they barely had enough to make a team seven or eight years ago.

"We just got great coaches in (head coach Terry) Ward, coach Tyner and coach (Ian) White. These are teachers that care for kids on the field and when we get through. It's a very special relationship between our coaches and our kids."

It's the relationship that helped Davis get a scholarship to Tech.

"When he was a seventh grader, I coached the junior high and high school offense and he was my quarterback," Tyner said. "I didn't know the kid very well at that point. I was new, he was new. We watched him grow up and mature. I think the recruiting process with Texas Tech and all the different processes helped him mature, but he really took it upon himself to learn how to play the game.

"He learned how to lead. He learned how to be a quarterback. He never brought attention to himself negatively. He led the team. He distributed the football. He just did what he needed to do and made things happen."

Tenaha isn't just a football school. It's also going to be a serious contender in the 1A basketball title hunt this spring after falling just short in the State Championship game last season against a well-known Eula program.

"We'd have liked to pull it off in basketball last year in March," Fallin said. "But when we got to August we said we're going to play in Cowboys Stadium and then this past week we said we're not finishing second anymore. That's what you saw tonight, determination not to finish second anymore."

So when Davis smiled on the 'Jerrytron,' an entire community smiled back.

"For the last five years we had been taking shots at this," Tyner said. "We finally kicked the door in today."

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