Davis excels on, off field for Grove City
Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan loves players who not only excel on the field, but also in the classroom and away from school.
Senior center Hayes Davis fits that description.
Davis has been a three-year starter at center and leads an offensive line that has been a key in the team's rushing success.
A second-team all-OCC-Ohio Division selection last season, Davis scored a 35 of a possible 36 on the ACT and has a 4.34 GPA, which ranks fourth in his class.
He may pursue a pre-medical degree and is considering whether to attend Harvard University.
"I'm a student-athlete and education is always going to be my first priority," Davis said. "No matter what happens in football, I'm always going to use my education for my career. Education is No. 1 right now."
Jordan has so much confidence and trust in Davis that he has been allowed to care for his coach's children.
"Hayes is one of the best kids I've ever met," Jordan said. "He's one of the most humble, down to earth, hard-working kids I've known. He's a kid you can trust. I trust him so much. He's been over here to baby-sit my kids."
Jordan puts an emphasis on the running game and relies heavily on his offensive line, which the 6-foot-1, 270-pound Davis anchors in the middle.
"As the center, Hayes basically knows the entire offense," Jordan said. "He is able to help out his teammates who may not know it all. He knows what's going on."
Lining up alongside Davis are seniors Brandon Glover (6-4, 328) and Jared McCoy (6-5, 335), junior Joe Johnson (5-9, 280) and sophomore Brandon Skeen (6-4, 265).
"We've been doing a lot better," Davis said of the line. "We've always had a size advantage. We're a huge O-line and this year we're finally firing off the ball and starting to put drives together, which is good. It all comes back to us. If we don't play well, the offense is not going to be able to move the ball."
Davis' community efforts include assisting in the fifth annual Stynchula Family Foundation football camp for children with autism, which was held last month at the school.
Davis and his teammates, along with college and NFL players, participated in the event.
"It's very important," Davis said of volunteering at the camp. "It helps all of us realize how lucky we are to be where we're at and be able to play a sport."
The Dawgs fell to 1-2 with a 42-20 loss at Westerville South on Sept. 7.
Grove City closed to within 14-7 in the second quarter on junior running back Jake Norbut's 1-yard touchdown run and 21-13 in the third quarter when senior defensive back Drew Nankivell scored on an 85-yard fumble return.
South, however, scored the next two touchdowns to take a 35-13 lead after three quarters.
"The game didn't go quite the way we wanted it to," Davis said. "We kept fighting all game."
Junior quarterback Cameron Meece rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries and junior fullback Corey Williams had 68 yards on 13 carries. Norbut added 67 yards on 12 carries.
For the season, Meece has rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 45 carries and completed 19 of 57 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Williams has rushed for 114 yards on 17 carries, and senior wide receiver Devonta Thomas has seven receptions for 82 yards. Junior wide receiver Tyler Cowles has five catches for 73 yards.
The Dawgs open league play Friday, Sept. 14, at home against Reynoldsburg.
Last season, Grove City lost to Reynoldsburg 20-10.
The Raiders improved to 2-1 with a 55-0 win over Westerville North on Sept. 7. Senior wide receivers Mykel Taylor-Bennett and Kaleb Murray and senior running back A.J. Mitchell each scored two touchdowns.
Taylor-Bennett has verbally committed to play for the University of Cincinnati.
"We start league play this week and every team we play is going to have athletes," Jordan said. "We have gotten better each week. It should be a good game against Reynoldsburg. It's at our stadium on Friday night. I just hope that we're able to keep moving forward. As a team, we've done that every week. We're going to try to find a way to pull this one out and get a 'W' at home."