CARTHAGE, Texas -- If you weren't a Mount Enterprise (Texas) fan, you wanted more out of Tenaha (Texas) athlete Reginald Davis in the Tigers' 55-6 1A Division II state quarterfinal game at Bulldog Stadium in Carthage, Texas.
Not because Davis was unimpressive, far from it, but there just weren't enough touches for Davis to really shine against a team that gave Tenaha the ball on the right side of the 50-yard line over-and-over again. You believed that any time Davis had the ball anything could happen and you wanted to see that more than Friday allowed.
Davis finished the state quarterfinal game with just 72 rushing yards, including a 23-yard loss on a bad exchange with running back Shaquille Mitchell, 17 yards on a kickoff return and completed five passes for 66 yards from the quarterback position after having nearly double the numbers in Tenaha's 47-0 victory against Mount Enterprise in the regular season within District 12-1A. Davis also had two tackles and a defensive interception as a safety in two short Mount Enterprise drives.
"It feels great," Davis said. "I've never been to the semifinals before. It's going to be a great thing to do. We've gotten close the last three years, but we're here now."
Despite some of Davis' smallest numbers of the season, the athletic talent he possesses is clear.
Davis is a smooth runner. Davis sees where holes are going to open up downfield. Davis has breakaway speed that nearly any high school player would be envious of.
As a projected wide receiver on the college level, Davis matches a lot of the athletic qualities of former Red Raider Detron Lewis.
Davis opened the game with a 21-yard run on Tenaha's first offensive play to set the Tigers (13-0) with first-and-goal from the one-yard line and running back Cobe Carraway punched the ball in the very next play for a 7-0 lead with 9:47 left in the first quarter.
However, Davis' most impressive play of the game came on that fumble that cost him about a 100-yard rushing game. After the bad exchange with Mitchell, the ball squirted free and rolled about 20 yards backward and Mount Enterprise had three guys with a head start of Davis for the ball. Davis outran the entire the entire Mount Enterprise defensive front for the 23-yard loss on the fumble recovery. On the very next play Davis threw a 64-yard touchdown pass that was called back on an illegal man downfield and negated those passing yards.
The 23-yard loss and negated touchdown pass proved too much for Tenaha to overcome on that drive so the Tigers punted. Davis intercepted Mount Enterprise on the ensuing drive by tipping a pass to himself, one of four takeaways for Tenaha, and set up the Tigers with a 20-yard scoring drive.
Tenaha led Mount Enterprise 33-0 at halftime. It had matched its 47-0 victory in the regular season in the third quarter after both coaches had agreed to play with a continuous clock and a good while before that Davis was just handing the ball off to prevent him from injury as there wasn't enough depth for the 1A team to bench Davis until the final minutes.
Tenaha is a school of just 124 students in a town that has just over 1,000 people. It's amazing how many athletes there are on the roster and you can understand why Tenaha is a favorite to attend the 1A state basketball tournament for the third time in four years this upcoming spring.
Sophomore running back Chavis Gregory had three rushing touchdowns and a scoop-and-score fumble recovered for a touchdown while sophomore Keontas Davis seemed to be everywhere on the defensive side of the ball.
"I can't get over that," Tenaha Independent School District superintendent and Davis' legal guardian Don Fallin said. "The Division I schools are the ones dropping by, Tech, A&M, Baylor, University of Houston, and you just don't usually find that at a very small school. We've got a lot of kids that are sophomores and freshmen.
"Hopefully Tech will pick up a few more of them. We're going to bring some out to the camp again this year. We're just very pleased with what have the boys have accomplished."
Tenaha advances to play Burton in the 1A Division II semifinal round. Two games away from a State Championship.
Davis and Fallin
Before the Tenaha-Mount Enterprise game, Tenaha Independent School District superintendent Don Fallin stood on the field somewhere between an administrator and a proud parent.
Fallin has been Reginald Davis' legal guardian since Davis' father died when Davis was nine years old and Davis was left an orphan.
"I coached his mom and it was tough on me when she passed away and he was just three. He doesn't remember her," Fallin said. "His dad passed at nine. For a kid that has done what he's done - now he's got surprises coming in DI ball and the work he's going to have to put in because it's come so easy for him at the 1A level. We have steady talks about that and I just want him to be the best he can be."
Fallin, and his wife Debbie, a counselor in the Tenaha district, plan to retire to Lubbock to be closer to their biological son who works in Lubbock and Davis.
"Moving to Lubbock in a year-and-a-half and getting to watch the same kid is huge to Debbie and I," Fallin said. "He means a lot to me."
Fallin said Davis's maximum potential is unknown, but Sonny Cumbie told Fallin it was nowhere near reached.
"I talked to Sonny Cumbie on the sidelines at 'The Pit' in Tenaha when he came out and we were playing Alto," Fallin said. "Everyone in the state that knows 1A ball knows what Alto is and he just demolished them this night 54-7. I said, 'how much better, Sonny, can he actually get?' He said on a scale of one to 10, he's only reached a three right now.
"I can't imagine -- No one from Tech has actually seen him be a receiver. We have. He's just a tremendous athlete. Coach (Neal) Brown has talked about him doing some of the wildcat and you can see with him playing quarterback that he'd be a great addition."
But the biggest thing for the Fallins is watching Davis grow from a boy to a man.
"We just want him to get a degree," Fallin said, "that's the biggest thing. We want him to have a career regardless of what it is. You're not promised anything in football and you could be hurt in a minute. But that degree means everything. We're very pleased that he's getting a Tech degree."