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Malik Davis; Game Changer

Lincoln Philips, Sports Editor

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The big moment arrives; his moment to prove he is the one. He will take this team to the next level. Loud instruments from the back rows of the bleachers echo into the open night and consume him. The head coach blasts numerous commands for him to follow, and he looks down at the grass on the field and realizes that this is his opportunity to show the team that he should have been in the starting lineup from the beginning. The opposing team kicks the ball up, which soars through the horizon, and the whistle of the ref complies with the countless demands for the game to start. The game begins, and so does the start of Malik Davis’s journey.

The junior plays quarterback for the Pioneers and has thrown more than 20 touchdowns, along with 1,564 passing yards; Despite this, he started the season on the bench. But, at the start of the season, he was on the bench. After a rough start to the season, the varsity football team made some subtle changes to their lineup. One change was the promotion of Davis, who became the new starting quarterback. This lineup alteration allowed Davis to express and show the whole roster how hard he had trained, and how ready he was to take on this big role. Ever since the change, the team has been winning more games and has shown a clear difference in their focus and determination on the field.

Davis was added to the starting lineup for a multitude of reasons. Head coach Clint Johnson expects key vision, good decision making, and other aspects from him. Luckily, Davis has trained for years, so he may possess all the factors necessary to allow the team to win more games.

“Malik has a type of winning mentality that is extremely superior to everyone in his age group. He just wants to win. He doesn’t have a huge ego or anything like that. He is just a simple man who wants to win,” says coach Johnson, when asked about Malik Davis. Malik always loved football, and that passion won’t end anytime soon.

“I got motivated by football around fifth grade when I started playing. After playing a few games, my love for the game grew pretty fast,” says Davis, who went on to say that he also played basketball, most notably on the varsity basketball team for Oak Ridge last year.

“I would be doing nothing if it wasn’t for football. I would probably be invested in school, and school is boring, so I am lucky I have football to fall back on,” said Davis. He goes on to say that after high school, he is planning to get a scholarship to a college, and he hopes to get a contract to play in the NFL.

“I don’t know what I will do if football doesn’t work out for me in the future. Football is my main focus, and it has been for the majority of my life,” said Davis.

Malik has been through a lot when it comes to football, including two major injuries that cost him seasons in the spring at the end of his eighth-grade year. This, however, does not stop him from going all-in on the field. He described his mindset about injuries, saying he doesn’t think about any of that when he goes to play. All that matters to him is the success of the team as a whole.

Pullquote Photo

I would be doing nothing if it wasn’t for football”

— Malik Davis

Along with football, Davis also has advanced-curriculum courses, including AP Physics and Pre-calculus. A huge struggle for most high school athletes is controlling the grueling schedule of football while maintaining solid grades in their classes. Davis says that he is able to control both by staying focused and not procrastinating.

“After practice, I go home and I go straight to work to get everything done. I don’t have the best or greatest grades, but they are alright and they are the best of what I’m dealing with,” explained Davis. He also included information regarding the influence of his parents, specifically by his father, dealing with his grades and courses.

“When choosing my classes, I could have selected any basic class to be in. Although, my dad and I agreed that the best thing for me to choose was AP Physics, because the other classes could not make me work harder,” Davis said.

The ability to handle grades and football is a skill that most people do not possess in their school life. Although, this does not exclude Davis of all the struggles that go into being on the team. Ego, sustainability, unloyal students and frustrations from losses in the season are common events that happen to most varsity players, including Davis.

“I wouldn’t say there are struggles that I can’t handle, although the most frustrating and struggling moment was our Evans game. We were up 27-6 in the 3rd quarter, and we let the lead go by the end of the game,” said Davis, referring to an earlier game in the season. All struggles come with an incentive, however, because according to Davis, after this moment, the team shifted their game plan and began to win more games. Evans set a precedent for future games for Davis and his teammates.

A key influence in the team’s success was the chemistry between the teammates. Wide receivers Kevin Moran, and Marcus Taylor both love Davis’ play and they value him as a teammate and human being.

“The thing about Malik is that he is motivated on the field, and has a fiery passion. Although when he is off the field, he is very nonchalant and calm. That is what makes him special,” says Marcus Taylor when asked about Malik Davis. This team is like a family, and Malik is like a brother to everyone else. This environment allows him to express his freedom on the football field.  

When asked about next season, Davis confirmed that he will return next year as the quarterback for the Pioneers.

“A lot of guys are going to leave this year, although since I am a junior I will be returning next year for Oak Ridge. We have a lot of key guys that are also coming back. I don’t know how good we will be, although that is the rush of the football season. You never know what to expect,” said Malik Davis, as he finished up his explanation of his football journey.

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Malik Davis; Game Changer