Davis on verge of third indoor championship
The legendary Beatles had a hit song many moons ago called, “The Long and Winding Road.”
Nate Davis has been on that road, mainly in Texas, since being released from the NFL a few years back.
A couple of weeks ago, the former Bellaire High and Ball State University quarterback and his Rio Grande Valley Sol teammates were denied a chance to play for the Lone Star Football League championship due to the Sol management not taking care of its business dealings during the regular season.
Now, Davis and three of his Sol teammates, are preparing for Ultimate Bowl IV, which is the championship game of the Ultimate Indoor Football League. They are members of the Florida Tarpons, which are based in Estero, Fla., for just the one game.
“They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Davis said of the four-figure offer during a telephone interview from Hidalgo, Tx., the home to Rio Grande Valley. “There are three other guys from the Sol that are also playing in the game.”
Ultimate Bowl IV is set for Saturday at 7:05 p.m. (CST) on MSI Field inside American Bank Center in Corpus Christi. The Tarpons (4-4) will meet the undefeated Corpus Christi Fury (8-0). This will be the third consecutive season that the two teams have met in the finals, with each winning once. The Tarpons won last year, 40-32.
According to the strong-armed Davis, most of the players on the Sol came from the Tarpons prior to the 2014 season.
“It’s been crazy, but the Tarpons have welcomed us with open arms,” he added.
However, that welcoming has come from nearly 1,500 miles and 21 hours away.
“We’re not even practicing with the team,” Davis explained. “We’re all working out on our own and then playing in the game. I’ve never met any of the players, except for the three guys from the Sol.”
While you would think that would be a bad thing, Davis said he has watched film of every one of the Tarpons’ eight games thus far.
“I’ve talked to the coaches a couple of times, but that’s about the extent of it,” he admitted. “I’m training on my own.”
Davis said his training consists of teaching young kids how to play the quarterback position.
“I work at a facility called Athlete’s Choice,” he said. “I’m working with young kids all day long, so I’m staying in shape.”
Davis got his chance at a third straight indoor championship – he won the LSFL title with Amarillo in 2012 and 2013 – when Tarpons’ quarterback Chris Wallace was injured in the semifinal victory. The University of Toledo alum was last season’s championship game MVP.
“My goal is to make it back to the NFL,” Davis, a fifth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2009 draft. “This is just another step on the road back.”
During his time with the Sol this season, Davis passed for 2,252 yards and a staggering 50 touchdowns in nine games. He completed 159 of 282 attempts for 56.4 percent. His QB rating was 101.2 and he was picked off 10 times. He also ran for 15 TDs, which led the LSFL.
His numbers could have been a whole lot better if three games that were played were reported. In those three contests, the Sol scored 183 points.
“It was very disappointing,” Davis said of the abrupt way the Sol season ended. “I’ve never been a part of an organization that was disqualified, and I hope I never am again.
“It was definitely a learning experience, but they say you learn from your experiences,” he continued.
While switching from the LSFL to the UIFL, Davis said he had to learn a few rule changes.
“I called my former coach at Amarillo (Julian Reese) and he helped me through the changes,” Davis noted. “I learned a lot of the indoor game from him. He was very helpful.”
The major UIFL rule change that affects Davis is that a team is allowed two players in lotion when the ball is snapped, compared to just one in the LSFL.
Davis said the ball is still the same size and color – red, white and blue.
So, what does the future hold for Davis?
“My goal for next season is to make it to the AFL,” he revealed. “There have been some teams interested, but I felt a loyalty to the players with RGV.”
He said he also received some feelers from two Canadian League teams at the beginning of the season.
“Edmonton and Winnipeg had contacted me, but they were looking for something right now and not down the road.”
For Davis, that long and winding road will take him to Corpus Christi Saturday night. However, after that … ?
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org