The scene was surreal Saturday night for St. David football coach Brett Davis.
It would be the last game Davis would coach. And it was played on the Duncan High field where his father Tom first coached 40-something years ago.
And, in the end, his son, quarterback Travis, left with MVP honors, as the Blue team beat the Red 46-30 in the 1A, 8-Man Senior Bowl for top seniors in 8-man football in Arizona.
Brett Davis was Bagdad coach Dalton Mills’ offensive coordinator for the game. Travis Davis passed for five touchdowns and ran for more than 100 yards and another score to lead the Blue.
The game itself was dedicated to Tom Davis, a member of the Arizona Coaches Association High School Hall of Fame, who coached his final season in 2016 as an assistant to his son at St. David, before he died in February at the age of 77.
Brett Davis, who led St. David’s program the last nine years, choked up, describing the scene Saturday.
“I know (Travis) was emotional about it, because he was close to his grandpa,” Brett said. “He had been there all of his years of high school. He helped him on the field, aside from his regular grandpa duties.”
Tom Davis played football at Duncan with Duncan football coach Eldon Merrill’s father. Eldon Merrill decided to dedicate this year’s game to Tom Davis.
Brett Davis lost both of his parents since last season. His mother died in December, he said.
Tom Davis coached not only at Duncan, but at Pima and Elfrida Valley Union. He coached Pima to a 1A state championship in 1984.
“What was neat, when we were going out onto the field, it was not decided which side to be on,” Brett said. “We happened to go out first and Dalton said, ‘They’re not here, we’re going to take the home side.’ As they were warming up, I thought to myself, ‘That was where my dad started his coaching career, and this is where I was going to end mine right there.’
“It was a special night, being on the same side of the field, looking as his place he called home, where he played his high school ball. He was such a good example for the young men. It was always more than a win or a loss to him. The thing he always encouraged me with football was to keep the big picture in mind, make them good, young men, as opposed to how many wins you get.”
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