W.P. Davidson High School
3900 Pleasant Valley Road
Mobile, Alabama 36609
251-221-3089 (field house)
Varsity Football Information
Head Coach & Athletic Director: Fred Riley
Defensive Coordinator: Danny Smith
Special Teams Coordinator: PJ Wright
2009 Regular Season Record: 8 Wins / 2 Loses
6A Region 1 Champs
Region Record: 2 Defensive Shut Outs
Mascot - Warriors
School Colors - Black & Gold
Key Players -
Jarrell Smith #14 Quarter Back
Darian Craig #22 Running Back
Jimmie Ward #46 Safety
In the heat of the summer, the players and coaches gathered each day in the field house to work. These summer days, such an integral part of the athletic training of a high school football player, shaped the course of the Warriors 2009 season. The voluntary workouts were packed each day as players and coaches slowly built a commitment to each other. Coaches, with no summer work out assignments worked the weight room each day. Players, with no requirement to lift in the summer, never missed a day. The weight room was filled with a silent commitment to work together. Outside the building, the intensity of the summer’s heat permeated the city. Inside the building, the intensity of the team’s desire to succeed permeated every aspect of summer workouts.
As the summer workouts came to a close, the coaches gathered to plan for the upcoming season. Each coach felt the unspoken commitment by the players and their peers. Each coach realized they were working in a special, unique environment. In previous seasons, the Warriors had won Region Titles and Play off Games, sent players to continue their football careers at the collegiate level, but none of the coaches had felt this tight, unspoken bond between the team. As the men sat around the table, each coach tried to put this feeling in the air into words. After hours of brainstorming, they put a name to this emotion. Linked. The team, the coaches, the training staff, the film crew, the parents, everyone who stepped foot into the field house was linked together in an unspoken bond to commit to excellence and win on the football field.
At the end of the meeting, the bond was no longer unspoken. Within days, the coaches issued blacked wrist bands to all the players and coaches with the phrase “Warriors Linked Together”. Inside the field house, signs appeared to signify the groups link together. This group of 86 players, 11 coaches, 1 trainer, 4 team managers, and 3 bus drivers were linked in every action in every way for the 2009 football season. Perhaps the most striking thing about this slogan, this motto for the year, was its immediate acceptance and understanding by the players. For they too, had felt the underlying commitment between each other and the staff and instantly understood that the actions of one player affected them all.
This link was more than a commitment to play hard on Friday nights. It was an allegiance to each other on and off the field. It brought the concept of team work to a different level by taking their obligation outside of the field house and into the classroom and the streets. What happens to one player happens to them all. What is good for one player, improves us all. The actions of one individual, reflects on the rest. The bands were a tangible reminder of their loyalty to each other. With this loyalty, they could meet any challenge. I will work hard, because of my pledge to you. You will work hard, because of your allegiance to the group. And bound together, we cannot be defeated.
The start of school at Davidson is always an interesting time for the Varsity Football Team as they leave behind the routine and quiet of summer workouts and are back in the classroom with peers and faculty who may not understand their drive to succeed on the field. This season, the boys were inexpilicably drawn back to the field house during lunch waves and before school. Back to the place where they felt the most connected and understood. They were linked to the building and to each other. Linked to the one place where they were allowed to work and sweat and run without question. And so they worked, together.
Quickly the season began, bringing reporters, college recruiters, cheerleaders and parents into the quiet world of the field house. And yet for the first time, these things were not distractions. In fact, it often seemed that the boys were not aware of the outside world that drifted into the field house. Their focus remained one the team as a whole. They absorbed the assurance that no one man will be left behind. During daily conditioning on the field, as one player fell behind three more jumped in to run with him. After workouts, starting senior receivers stayed behind to run routes with junior varsity players. After practice, players picked up lost shoes, mouth pieces, shorts and wrist bands and quietly returned them to their team mate’s locker.
Under the lights on Friday nights this commitment was the most visible to the outside world. Early in the season, public polls named the team as one of the top five teams in the state. Each week, the rankings changed, but the desire and drive among the team did not. For this group did not question their own abilities and did not question the abilities of their team mates. On two different weeks, the team was defeated. As a fan, the defeats were heartbreaking to watch. But in the field house, no heads were down, no shoulders were sagged because linked in defeat, the players learned a new message. Not just in victory, but in defeat they were united, and they will turn the pain of loss into a drive to succeed. Together we cannot be brought down. I will work harder for you. You will work harder for us. We will work harder together. Linked together, we cannot be brought down.
As the regular season comes to a close, the team is preparing for the playoffs. Their list of rushing yards, touchdown passes, sacks and interceptions is lengthy. Statistics and records for the 2009 Warrior Football Team are impressive, if not staggering at times. But these numbers are often beside the point. Win or lose during the play offs, this group of 86 players has created a unique and lasting bond. When the lights are turned off on the field of their careers, when their shoulder pads have been collected and their cleats put away, they will still be linked. And that level of commitment for a group of high school athletes is an impressive sight to behold.