Davis, Amarillo seek berth in Champions Indoor Football title tilt

AMARILLO, Tex. — Nate Davis and his Amarillo Venom teammates are a win away from playing for the Champions Indoor Football League championship … again.

For the second consecutive summer, the Venom (10-3) will meet the Texas Revolution (9-4) for the South Division title tonight on Coors Light Field inside the Amarillo Civic Center. Amarillo won 57-53 before falling to the Wichita Force, 48-45, in the championship tilt.

“We’re excited to be playing for the division title,” Davis said in a telephone interview from Amarillo late last week. “It’s always good to be playing at home. Like (head coach Julian) Reese says, “You have to protect your house. You must win at home.”

The top-seeded Venom have only suffered one loss at home this season, that coming at the hands of the Revolution, 68-61, on May 13.

“We just need to take care of business,” Davis allowed. “We need to do the little things to get better. It just comes down to us not making mistakes and not beating ourselves.

“I’m talking about everyone, including myself,” he said. “I can’t throw an interception on first down like I did in that game. Just can’t do that.”

In that contest, Davis completed 27-48 passes for 374 yards, five TDs and two INTs. For the season (13 games), the former Bellaire and Ball State quarterback has thrown for 2,625 yards on 254-414 (61.4%). He has tossed 57 touchdowns (2nd in the CIF) and 13 picks. He averages 201.9 yards per game through the air, and has collected 185 yards (3rd on the team) and 19 six-pointers. His 128 points are second on the team to placekicker Jacob Felton’s 131 and includes seven 2-point conversion runs.

“I’ve had a good season, but it could’ve been better,” Davis admitted. “But I missed a little bit with two broken ribs and a broken collarbone.”

However, Davis also knows he couldn’t have put up those eye-popping numbers without the support of his offensive line and the catches of his wide receivers.

“Our offensive line and wide receivers make the plays,” Davis said. “I just distribute the ball to whoever is open. That’s my job. You get open and I’ll get the ball to you.”

Amarillo has three wideouts with 50-or-more receptions. Cedric Gilbert is the lone one to have played in all 13 contests and he leads the team with 54 catches for 771 yards and 17 TDs. Veteran Raymond Johnson has landed 50 receptions for 475 yards and 10 six-pointers despite only play eight games. Deondre Perry has caught a team-leading 57 passes for 506 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 contests. Alex Watson, who has played in nine games, has landed 39 catches for 424 stripes and 10 end-zone-finders.

“I don’t really have a favorite receiver. They are all great and I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” Davis stressed. “I’ve played with Raymond for six years now. He injured his knee and missed some time, but he’s back and ready to go.

“Alex and I have played together for three years. Cedric and Deondre are rookies, but both have stepped up this season and performed very well.”

In a 70-41 rout of Duke City in the first round of the playoffs, Davis passed for 174 yards on 17-24. He threw three touchdowns and was not intercepted. He also ran for a pair of scores.

Amarillo won back-to-back Lone Star Football League championships in 2012 and 2013 with Davis at the controls.

Tonight’s winner will meet the Omaha Beef who defeated the Sioux City Bandits, 55-45, Saturday night for the North Division championship.