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Davis speeds into spotlight

After a head-turning summer, Nitros junior wideout is ready to shine

September 07, 2011|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

It isn't often that summer passing leagues and tournaments do much more than whet the appetite for the high school football season.

But in the case of Glendale High junior receiver Mike Davis, it was in the dog days of summer that the 6-foot-2 speedster began turning heads.

"In the summer, he was great," says Nitros third-year Coach Alan Eberhart. "He changed the game. Good teams could not cover him. Alemany couldn't cover him."

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Alemany is a reigning CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division semifinalist and was one of myriad high-profile, big-time teams that Glendale squared up against during the summer. It was a summer in which the Nitros were a semifinalist at the College of the Canyons Passing Tournament before winning the Ayala Tournament.

"Because of Michael, we won that tournament," says Glendale senior running back Alex Yoon.

Davis, the reigning Pacific League 100- and 200-meters track and field champion, was simply too fast for most defenders to keep up with.

"Every time I did something and turned some heads," Davis says, "I got a little more attention and a little more confident."

Granted, that was the summer and 11-on-11 in full pads during the fall is far different, but with all the heads that turned in Davis' direction, it is clear that, as the 2011 football season dawns, it is Davis' time to shine under the lights.

"This year would be his time to shine," Yoon says. "As long as he gets the ball, he'll be good."

Making Davis' breakout all the more notable — and in some people's eyes surprising — is the fact that it comes on the heels of a season in which the Nitros went 1-9 and a then-sophomore Davis was rarely an afterthought in his team's wing-T, run-first offense.

"He only caught one ball last year, which is amazing to me," Eberhart says, "but we couldn't throw the ball."

Enter senior quarterback Evan Norton.

Yoon, an All-Pacific League and All-Area selection last year as a quarterback who ran for more than 700 yards, but barely eclipsed 400 yards passing, will play fullback, while Norton, who's recovered from a collarbone injury, will line up under center.

"Michael's a playmaker, so I don't have to do much," Norton says.

Nonetheless, Norton has an arm that can keep up with Davis' legs, something that wasn't a part of the Nitros' arsenal last season.

"Evan is more of a throwing quarterback," Yoon says. "That's one thing I couldn't do. … Him and Evan are really connecting."

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