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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

By Bethany Bradsher

Davis primed to blossom in Greenville

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.

One year ago, Dominique Davis had this to say about his transfer to Fort Scott Community College: “I’ve just got to take a step back to get where I’ve got to go.”

Now on the cusp of his second-chance Division I opportunity at East Carolina, Davis is more likely now to call Fort Scott a step up in his maturation as a man and a football player.

Sure, it’s a community college in rural Kansas whose athletic offerings include meats judging, livestock judging and rodeo. You can’t even sniff the big time from there, and for most college football prospects it wouldn’t rate as a stop on any career ladder.

But it did have something that Davis desperately needed — a coach who believed in him. And because of a year spent under the leadership of Jeff Sims and his staff, Davis has become a Pirate who fully believes in his ability to lead a football team.

When he pursued Davis about transferring to Fort Scott from Boston College, Sims knew about the academic troubles that had forced Davis to leave the ACC school where he had earned a starting job. He knew that Sims had probably made some bad decisions that contributed to his decline at BC.

But Fort Scott offered a new start, and Sims had no intention of saddling his quarterback with any past baggage.

“Dominique’s a great kid who made a mistake at Boston College,” said Sims. “We showed some confidence in him. The number one thing we did for Dominique while he was here was we believed in Dominique.”

It didn’t take many preseason workouts before Sims saw evidence of the qualities that drew college recruiters when Davis was still a standout at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, FL. He was a quick, intuitive, athletic quarterback with a strong command of the offense.

Davis was coming from a Boston College scheme that used the shotgun formation. His move to Fort Scott gave him the chance to shine in an offense that kept him out of the pocket, moving around the backfield.

“He’s extremely accurate as a quarterback, and he does have the “it” factor,” Sims said. “He knows how to rally the troops.”

To Sims, the true test of Davis’s character came when he arrived in Fort Scott, Kansas, put his head down, and worked hard to be the best Greyhound quarterback he could be. He could have adopted a superior attitude, but he never mentioned Boston College or his path that brought him to Fort Scott.

“Where he gained a lot of my respect, never did I hear any excuses of what happened before,” Sims said. “The day he was here, he acted like he had to make the team, that he was a Greyhound. Dominique’s an extremely humble, quiet person.”

The best picture of Davis’s grace under pressure at Fort Scott came on October 31 of last year, when the Greyhounds were facing two-time defending national junior college champion Butler County Community College. The Grizzlies scored late in the game to take a 10-7 lead.

On a last-minute Greyhound drive, Davis first converted two fourth downs to keep moving, then hit a wall when he was sacked on second down to put his offense at 3rd and 17.

With the odds against him, Davis called out a play to the sideline as the seconds ticked away. He coolly aired out a pass that found its target at the 2-yard line. Davis ran the ball in on a sneak to seal the 14-10 win and Fort Scott's first Jayhawk Conference title since 1974.

“He beat a team that, they don’t get beat,” Sims said. “He’s a quiet guy that does what he’s supposed to do. He doesn’t rub his teammates the wrong way. He just goes out and works.”

Fort Scott’s greatest gift to Davis was giving him the confidence to bloom where he’s planted, to see every stop as an opportunity. Now that Davis is transplanted at East Carolina, Sims expects him to throw himself into his role with the Pirates with the same gusto.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

Bethany Bradsher Archives

08/06/2010 01:56 AM

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