Face of the game—Chaz Davis

photo+illustration

Photo by Brianna O'Shaughnessy

photo illustration

Story by Alex Heo, sports editor

The cooling breeze sweeps through the yard and catches the falling autumn leaves to create a heap. Standing at one end of the field is a young boy, eagerly awaiting his cousin’s signal. With his cousin’s nod, he explodes to catch the perfectly aimed pass and breaks through the pile of leaves on his way to the other end of the backyard. Within a few years, he will continue this process, but instead of receiving the ball, he will be intercepting it. Instead of breaking through piles of leaves, he will be breaking tackles.

Senior safety and defensive back Chaz Davis has played football for as long as he has attended school. His brother and cousin have served as his mentors and helped him gain the insight of the Xs and Os of football. Because of this, Davis accumulated a knowledge of football that was uncanny for a young boy at his age to learn back then.

“I first started to learn how to play football when I was 4 years old, in my mom’s living room with my brother, Shelby and my cousin, Cedric. That’s who taught me everything about football that I know today,” Davis said. “My cousin Cedric, [when] he was a senior in high school [and] when I was 6, had me in the backyard, running routes, showing me how to throw a football, how to catch it, what a cover two defense was [and] how to tackle. Ever since then, I just fell in love with it.”

As Davis’ knowledge of the game expanded, so did his passion. To Davis, it’s the intangible aspects of football that ignite his excitement for games.

“I think the best thing about football is probably the big hits—the sound of a big collision,” Davis said. “It’s just a wonderful sound. It’s like gold to my ears to hear pads clap together.”

On the field, Davis stands at 5’10” and weighs 167 pounds. However, Davis elevates his play to a more physical and intense style. The fearlessness that Davis plays with came from experience from playing with his family members.

“My brothers, Shelby and Cedric, were both older than me, so they had me in the backyard playing tackle football when I was 5 or 6,” Davis said. “Those two made me not be afraid of anybody. That’s why I feel like I play like I’m 225 pounds, so I’m not afraid of any man that comes to my side.”

Even though Davis credits his family for taking him under their tutelage, he credits his second family for making every season, every game, and every snap more meaningful.

“Another thing that I like about football, especially playing in high school, is being able to play with your family that you make along the way from eighth grade all the way to senior year,” Davis said. “None of them are your friends anymore, but they become your brothers. You don’t ever want to stop playing with them. It just makes all of it 10 times better. It makes it a whole lot better because you’ve known them your whole life. It’s just a warm feeling being out there with the people that you love.”

Davis started off playing football for the school team at Liberty Eylau when he was in the seventh grade. Before he entered the ninth grade, he transferred to Texas High, the former stomping ground of his older brother Shelby Davis. However, Davis refused to live under his brother’s shadow and set expectations for his performance on the field for himself.

“My brother, who had graduated the year before I came here in 2012, was kind of like the star of football players,” Davis said. “I wanted to follow his footsteps and do even better than what he did over here. I just wanted to erase his name because everybody always compares me to him and I don’t like being compared to anybody. have my own name and I want to make my name known more than my brother, my mom or my daddy.”

Being a senior, the day for Davis to finally don the orange and white armor for one last time is inevitable. However, the life lessons that he learned from football will be remembered on for the rest of his life.

“I never want to stop playing [football], but I know one day it’s going to have to come to an end. It’s probably going to be one of the saddest days in my life,” Davis said. “Football has taught me to always keep going no matter what—even if you’re tired or you don’t feel like it. There’s somebody that’s depending on you, and you got to give them the support that they need, so you can’t ever stop.”