Mountain Pointe receiver Dominique Davis has studied, and in some cases idolized, greats who play his position since he was 7. It has paid off. The rangy and speedy junior is emerging as the Pride’s big-play threat with a 26.7-yard average and five touchdowns in four games. Cheryl Haselhorst Tribune Staff
Eric Newman, Tribune Staff Writer | 9.20.18
Running pass routes at a park near his house since he was 7, Dominique Davis has been preparing himself.
To this day, the Mountain Pointe High junior receiver imagines himself as some of his favorite football players, particularly Houston Texans star DeAndre Hopkins.
Davis tries to emulate their production, but he knows his best chance to join their ranks is to run his own route.
He’s doing it. Davis, a 6-foot-2 junior, has burst upon the scene as the Pride’s big-play receiver, with 20 catches for 533 yards, five touchdowns and a whopping 26.7-yard average in the opening four games.
“From high school all the way to the pros, I love watching film of receivers,” Davis said. “I mimic them, really. If there’s moves I see, I’ll try to use them, but I really do want to be my own player.”
His production is even more eye popping given that he’s done it in an offense that focuses primarily on the rush.
Senior quarterback Nick Wallerstedt lit up at the mention of his top target, whom he said makes his job much easier when a pass-play is called.
“I know he’s a mismatch one-on-one against just about any corner he goes up against. I can just put it up there anywhere near him and I have faith that he’s got it and going to run the right route,” Wallerstedt said.
Because the Pride are so efficient at running, with several talented running backs carrying the ball behind a stout offensive line, opposing defenses often bring additional players into the box. This leaves Davis and the other Mountain Pointe receivers one-on-one, in prime position to make big gains off play action.
In Sept. 14’s 55-20 victory over Hamilton, Davis took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown against a defense sucked in to halt the Pride’s run. Senior offensive lineman Alex Vogel said those plays are crucial to balancing the offense.
“That’s what we had last year with the power running offense, that guy who can get open on a long pass play for a touchdown to keep the defense off us a little bit and not just crashing the run all the time. So hopefully he can keep doing that,” Vogel said.
Paying attention to the “little details” on each practice and game snap, Davis will walk to the sideline after a drive to review shoulder and hand positioning, or just ask advice on how to tighten up his routes.
The coaches have taken notice. A constant voice in Davis’ ear is Pride coach Rich Wellbrock, one of his biggest supporters. Mountain Pointe’s staff regularly calls plays designed for Davis to simply streak down the sideline and grab the ball over defenders in jump balls.
Wellbrock said Davis has plenty of room to improve, though.
“He’s special, but we’ve got to get him to elite status,” Wellbrock said. “That’s being there and being that threat every play, to where defenses have to pay extra attention to what he’s doing.”
While the Pride offense boasts plenty of talented players, there aren’t that many that say much in the huddle or off the field.
Davis, hearing his coach implore the juniors to make their voices heard in the locker room, has taken a more-active role in pushing for improvement, not only in his own game, but also in those of teammates.
“I try to be a vocal leader, and I talk a lot off the field, encouraging guys and stuff like that,” Davis said. “But on the field, it’s really just trying to lead with how I play and prepare.
“I’m definitely getting better at that, though.”
Davis and the Pride will be tested Friday in a home contest against 4-1 Queen Creek. It will be both teams’ first 6A Central Section game