I was at Beatrice to see a game whenDaniel Davie's team faced Ralston.
It was a loss, unfortunately.
A big reason for that was that for most of the second half, Davie was cramping up so badly he couldn't even get on the field.
That's when things went badly for his team.
Up to that point, when Davie was in, everything worked offensively. Davie would motion out, and it would seem he would take half the defense of Ralston with him, allowing a simple give to the fullback up the middle gain a lot more yards than it would have other wise.
Six yards, eight yards - even more. Ralston was so concentrated on everything Davie was doing, call it a buffet for the rest of the Beatrice team to feed off of while he was on the field.
When he went off it, though......yeah, not so much.
Therein lies the reason for their defeat.
When Davie was off the field it was pretty obvious Ralston didn't respect anyone on the Beatrice offense. And unfortunately for them, they didn't really give them much of a reason to. A Davie-less offense limped, sputtered and a Ralston offense took advantage of their own playmaker at running back, coming from behind to steal the upset victory on the road.
The team as a whole got better, but you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that as Davie went, so did his team. And that ultimately wasn't a bad ending as the team went 6-5 on the season, two of those losses coming to eventual state champion Crete.
Crete, the home of another future Husker, lineman Ryne Reeves, went undefeated on the year. But the two highest point totals they gave up in games this year came to guess who?
Crete pitched six shutouts on the season, including the state title game against Elkhorn. But in both meetings with the powerhouse, Beatrice put up over 20 points per.
Not bad, and you can figure that Davie's 1,800-plus yards from scrimmage had a bit to do with that.
You'd be surprised to hear then that most of the year he was doing it with a bad shoulder.
Well, not bad as in excruciatingly bad. But based on the initial injury that took place in the third week of the season, it was bad enough. "We have this guy that whenever he hits anything, he just unloads. But he also hits with his head down," Davie recalled, painfully. "And we were going live one day, because the coach was feeling it, and the player came up on my shoulder and just put his head right into it.
"I couldn't believe how much it hurt. I couldn't even put my arm down or anything. I ended up missing the next game against Nebraska City, and it bothered me a little here and there throughout the season. But I figured I could play with it."
Following the season he got another opinion on the injury.
"They said I shouldn't have been playing at all," Davie said with a laugh.
It's a hard thing to go back in time and say to yourself that if a doctor had told you that at that point, would you have listened to them or still played. Davie kind of hedged on that a bit, the competitor in him arguing with the young man who is now looking at a January surgery followed by what is certain to be at least a couple of months of rehab. "Looking back on it now, I don't know. I mean, I wouldn't want to have missed my entire senior season, which I would have if the doctor said it at that point. But I look at the kind of wear and tear I have on it now...I don't know," he said. "That's a tough one."
Davie is a young man, technically still the age of juniors in high school and not those getting ready for college. That along with the rehab of the injury, you would think would guarantee him a redshirt his first year. He thought that, but after a few discussions with Wide Receivers Coach Ted Gilmore, he might change his mind-set up a bit.
"We were talking about that, and he said that the instant I step on campus, I am going to be one of the faster guys on the team, and that is obviously a key thing," said Davie, who is the defending state champion in both the 100m and 200m sprints. "The more I talked to him about it, the more he said that I should practice like I am going to play, give it everything I have, learn what I need to learn and then be ready.
"You never know when your shot is going to come."
There was a time where Davie wasn't sure which side of the ball he was going to be playing. But that has obviously changed. This year Davie said that having the ball in his hands as much as he did really acclimated him to having the ball versus trying to kill the one who has it. For now Davie said that he's definitely going to the offensive side first, but he won't rule out any changes in the future. But that will ultimately be up to the coaches. "Wherever they see me contributing the most to the team, I'll just do that," he said.
And while we know that a quarterfinal defeat isn't how Davie wanted to finish his season, he also wasn't thrilled with how the season finished up for the Huskers. "Man, it's like a total of one minute from being a team with only one loss. That's what is bad about that," he said.
Also, and you probably know this already, Davie is a Big Ten kid, hailing from Michigan, his dad a big time fan of the future conference for the Huskers. And Davie said it's going to be something to play in places he's only heard about thus far. "Man, to play in the "Big House" in Michigan or "The Shoe" at Ohio State, I can't wait to be part of that whole thing where everyone at Nebraska is just getting acclimated to the Big Ten," he said. "There are going to be so many great rivalries that are going to develop there. Every week is going to be a huge game."
Right now it's just wishing and a bit of waiting. But hey, at least finals are done, and he's getting ready for a new year. Sure, he'll miss being able to work out for a couple of months, which will then be followed by working out like crazy for a couple of more.
After that, though, it's all about the future.
"I'm just ready to get going, but I know there's a bit of a ways to go," he said. "But that's OK. These kinds of things make you stronger, right? I'll come back better and ready to go."