HOLLAND, Ohio — Even the late-game heroics of Fred Davis couldn't help his overmatched Toledo Rogers teammates on Friday night.
After a slow start, the highly-touted 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver rebounded with a dazzling fourth quarter that included a pair of acrobatic touchdown catches covering 14 and 28 yards, but Springfield still routed visiting Rogers 30-12 in the season-opener for both teams.
Early on, both teams looked rusty, but Springfield quickly raced to a 9-0 lead in the second quarter after capitalizing on two punting mistakes by Rogers deep in their own territory. They later added another touchdown on a 56-yard punt return by Hans Vetter to open a 16-0 halftime lead.
Rogers never really recovered and trailed 30-0 before Davis, who is ranked as the nation's third best wide receiver by TheInsiders.com, scored both of his touchdowns with just under four minutes left in the game.
Overall, Davis finished with five catches for 75 yards and just 14 yards rushing on seven carries. Afterwards in an interview with OUInsider.com, he was clearly frustrated by the loss.
"This is embarrassing," said Davis, who tallied 38 catches for 610 yards and nine TDs, while rushing for 1,090 yards and 16 TDs last season. "I really don't know what to say. It's bad."
Still, Davis made several sensational plays on the night, despite routinely facing double- and even triple-coverage, while struggling to catch many poorly thrown balls. He briefly bobbled his first catch, a 17-yard reception across the middle, in the second quarter, but managed to hold on even after being rocked by a free safety on the play.
In the third quarter, Davis fought off two overzealous defenders for an eight-yard catch, but the play was negated by a defensive pass interference call. He also made his first appearance of the game on defense, playing in the secondary, in the quarter.
Trailing 30-0 late in the fourth quarter, Davis outjumped three defenders, one of which tipped the badly underthrown ball, to score his first TD of the season. The play, which covered 14 yards, left all three defenders shaking their heads.
"In my 25 years of coaching, he's the best wide receiver I've ever seen," said Springfield coach Phil DeMars. "He's got great hands and incredible speed. He's definitely a major (NCAA) Division I prospect."
Following a 15-yard catch, Davis concluded his night with a 28-yard TD reception in which he caught the ball, which was again underthrown and tipped, at the five-yard line and carried two defenders into the end zone.
"He's like Michael Jackson," shouted Margo Davis, Fred's mother, who was in attendance at last night's game, shortly after the play. "He just does his thing on the field."
After the game, Davis, who could graduate in December to participate in spring football practice at the school he chooses, told OUInsider.com that he still doesn't favorite school.
"I'm wide open," said Davis. "My top five is Ohio State, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Southern California. That's where I'll visit."
Yet, Davis spoke fondly of the Sooners and even admitted to be "impressed" by OU's passing attack.
"OU's a good team. I like them," said Davis. "And I love their four-receiver sets."
Because of that, Davis said he's "seriously considering" said the Sooners.
"OU's somewhere I'd like to be," said Davis. "I definitely want to get down there on one of my first two visits."
Until he makes that first official visit, Davis said his recruitment is unlikely to change.
"I've really only been to one place and that's Ohio State," said Davis. "So I guess they're the team to beat until I go visit (other schools). And when I do, I feel like I'm going to like a lot of other schools better than Ohio State. I think those schools will be Oklahoma, Miami and USC."
Ultimately, Davis said his comfort level and the wide receivers at each school he visits will play the biggest factors in his decision. However, he said distance will not.
"I just want to get away from this town (Toledo)," said Davis. "I don't like it here."
Margo Davis told OUInsider.com during the second half of last night's game that she's unsure where her son will attend college next season.
"He hasn't even told me," said Davis. "He's not going to make his final announcement until he plays in San Antonio (at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl) in January."
But, Davis said she knows exactly what type of school she'd like her son to attend.
"I want him to go to a school where he not only plays football, but somewhere that's also well-rounded academically," said Davis. "He's aced football, so now I want him to ace academics."
Davis, who is employed by State Farm Insurance, said she's currently in a "transition period," because next month her job is being cut due to corporate downsizing.
In turn, she said that's prompted her to interview for several jobs in the Columbus area.
"I've been looking there, but he's going to go where he needs to go," said Davis. "It'd be nice though if he was closer (to home)."
Nonetheless, Davis insists her son's decision will "be his own," regardless of her job situation.
"I was hoping that if I got a job in Columbus that maybe Ohio State would be one of his choices," said Davis. "But like I said before, I'm not moving for that reason."
With Columbus only some 120 miles away from Toledo, Davis insists that her son isn't guaranteed to attend Ohio State.
"He likes Oklahoma," said Davis. "Believe me, we get lots of mail from them. They've certainly got his attention."
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