The 12-yard catch moved Tusculum down to the 2-yard line and set up a touchdown on the next play.
Okay, good play.
But far more incredible was the weight crouching on Deshawn Davis’ shoulders like a gargoyle when he made that catch. The junior receiver from South Pointe played for Tusculum in its game against Shorter Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after his fraternal twin brother, De’Mon Davis, was shot and killed Friday afternoon in Fort Mill. The alleged shooter has been apprehended.
Deshawn Davis touched the football one other time during Tusculum’s blowout win, a carry for no gain. Football stats seem silly to mention in a situation like this.
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According to Tusculum sports information director Dom Donnelly, Davis was unsure of whether to play after receiving the life-shattering news about his twin. But he decided to play before returning to his family in Rock Hill, a decision with which De’Mon would have no doubt agreed.
De’Mon was a spitfire linebacker that started on the Stallions’ 2014 state title team alongside Ty Barber. The pair of them probably contributed most of the gray hairs the South Pointe coaching staff added that season, but, man, were they tough in the middle. Davis and Barber projected the swagger and attitude that made South Pointe teams such an intimidating proposition the last four years.
“I just remember De’Mon being that guy on the field that always full-blast, always making plays,” said South Pointe coach Strait Herron. “The great thing about De’Mon is off the field he was one of the most kind-hearted people you would ever meet. Having a special needs son, I can tell you that if anybody were ever to say or do anything to Dalton in front of De’Mon, he would have took up for him.”
Other Stallion college football players suited up with heavy hearts last weekend, too. Buffalo receiver Anthony Johnson was close friends with Davis and he also had to weigh whether he could play Saturday against Temple, or not.
Here is what Johnson posted on his Instagram page: “From breaking down to my knees the night before my game after getting that call crying to death, not being able to eat, drink or keep myself under control, calling everyone’s phone praying it wasn’t you. Waking up on game day crying still debating if I could play that football game. I kept telling myself I could with a heavy heart but I really knew I wasn’t going to be at my best but I did it for you. In and out the game throwing up on sideline trying to take my mind away from it to focus but I just couldn’t. I been with you since we was kids man, real brothers. I knew you needed me to fight and I had the chance to show you with the game winning TD and I knew you was with me money. I love you like my real brother.”
Johnson did play against Temple. And he scored the game-winning touchdown on what was surely a divinely inspired play full of effort, a 29-yard catch and run during which he looked stopped two different times. Despite his sick heart, Johnson caught six passes for 76 yards and led his team to a win that surely was second in his mind.
Josh Wilkes, Arkansas-Pine Bluff - the former South Pointe standout caught two touchdown passes for the second straight game, helping Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a 55-0 win over Cumberland University. Wilkes caught seven passes for 176 yards, including a 66-yard TD just over a minute into the game. He added a 17-yard scoring catch with three seconds left in the first half to make it 38-0. Wilkes has 14 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns through two games.
Ali Shockley, Ellsworth Community College (Iowa) - Shockley, the Northwestern grad and North Greenville transfer, has adjusted well to junior college football. He made 20 tackles during Ellsworth’s 16-8 loss to Garden City last weekend. Shockley notched three tackles-for-loss and forced a fumble during a dominant performance.
Rogan Wells, Valdosta State (Ga.) - Former Fort Mill QB was named Gulf Conference player of the week after throwing four touchdown passes during the Blazers’ 55-6 win over Fort Valley State. Wells tossed three scoring passes in the first quarter as Valdosta jumped on the visitors. He finished 20-of-36 for 227 yards and also ran 11 times for 97 more yards.
Brandon Plyler, Concord (W.Va.) - Wells’ former receiving target at Fort Mill High caught two touchdown passes during the Mountain Lions’ 42-21 loss to University of Charleston. Plyler caught seven passes for 63 yards in the losing effort.
Detorien Rawlinson, William Penn (Iowa) - York’s Rawlinson returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown during the Statesmen’s 42-0 win over Missouri Valley. The pick-six was Rawlinson’s second in college ball. He also had three tackles.
Quentin Sanders, Lackawanna College (Pa.) - Sanders caught his first two touchdown passes in college football on Sept. 9. The former Lewisville Lion and true freshman made three catches for 49 yards, snagging a pair of TD passes in the fourth quarter of Lackawanna’s blowout of Wagner College’s JV team.
Voshon St. Hill, Newberry - South Pointe’s St. Hill scored his first college touchdown and had six carries for 30 yards during Newberry’s 17-10 loss to Florida Tech. St. Hill’s third quarter TD pulled the Wolves within a score of Florida Tech, but Newberry couldn’t erase the deficit fully.
Other locals’ performances
Skyler DeLong, Alabama - the Nation Ford grad punted four times for a 35-yard average during the Crimson Tide’s 57-7 blowout of Arkansas State.
Malik Williams, Appalachian State - slot receiver from Chester started and caught three passes for 51 yards as the Mountaineers smoked Charlotte, 45-9.
Antonio Dawkins, Bluefield College - Fort Mill’s Dawkins made a tackle as Bluefield smacked Cincinnati Christian 45-7.
Shuler Littleton, Campbell - former York Cougar started at offensive tackle for the Camels, during their 13-8 win over Georgetown University.
Alan Alford, Catawba - former Northwestern Trojan made a tackle during Catawba’s easy win over Winston-Salem State.
B.T. Potter, Clemson - true freshman from South Pointe kicked off five times during the Tigers’ 28-26 win at Texas A&M, with three touchbacks.
Russell Hubbs, The Citadel - Hubbs, the former Northwestern Trojan, had a strong game for The Citadel during its 29-21 loss to Chattanooga in both teams’ Southern Conference opener. Hubbs made four tackles, including one for a loss, and also broke up a pass.
Chandler Kryst, Coastal Carolina - Kryst intercepted a pass during the Chanticleers’ 47-24 win over UAB. Kryst, a junior cornerback from Fort Mill High, picked off a Blazers pass in the fourth quarter for his second college interception.
Myles Prosser, Coastal Carolina - kicker from York hit three kickoffs during the Chanticleers’ win over UAB, with one going for a touchback.
Trae’von Hinton, Eastern Arizona Community College - Hinton, the Northwestern grad, made four tackles, including one for a loss, during his team’s 34-20 win over Air Force Prep.
Corey Seargent, East Carolina - cornerback from Northwestern had a solid outing during the Pirates’ 41-19 win over North Carolina, making four tackles and breaking up two passes.
Ryan DeLuca, Furman - sophomore receiver caught a pass for seven yards and made a special teams tackle during the Paladins’ 45-7 loss to Elon.
Donavan Perryman, Furman - former Rok Hill Bearcats linebacker started and made seven tackles, including a half tackle-for-loss, but Furman struggled in a blowout loss to Elon.
Jerry Howard, Georgia Tech - sophomore back from Northwestern carried the ball once for a yard during the Yellow Jackets’ loss to South Florida.
Caliph Brice, Hutchinson Community College (Kansas) - Northwestern grad and starting linebacker for the Dragons made six tackles in their 33-24 loss to Iowa Western.
Marleek Reid, Limestone - Reid, from South Pointe, made three tackles during Limestone’s 42-14 loss to West Georgia.
Malcolm Means, Mars Hill - Mars Hill struggled in a 27-9 loss to Shaw, with Means, the Lewisville grad, making five tackles, including one for a loss. He started at cornerback for the Lions.
Greg Ruff, Newberry - Ruff started but saw limited action against Florida Tech, completing 2-of-3 passes for 22 yards. The former South Pointe QB also ran the ball three times for 18 yards in the loss.
Manny McCord, Newberry - Indian Land grad caught a 23-yard pass during the Wolves’ loss to Florida Tech.
Shea Rodgers, Newberry - Indian Land’s Rodgers punted four times for a 38-yard average against Florida Tech. He also hit a 34-yard field goal as the first half expired.
Darryl Foster, Newberry - former Chester Cyclone started at middle linebacker against Florida Tech and made five tackles.
Nick Yearwood, Newberry - South Pointe’s Yearwood started at outside linebacker and had four tackles against Florida Tech.
Markell Castle, Newberry - Florida Tech succeeded in slowing down the former York Cougar, Newberry’s top receiving threat. Castle caught three balls for 16 yards during the Wolves’ loss. He also ran the ball twice for five yards.
Josh McCoy, North Carolina Central - York’s McCoy started at tight end and caught a pass for seven yards during Central’s 51-14 win over St. Augustine’s.
Nick McCloud, North Carolina State - McCloud, from South Pointe, broke up two passes and notched four tackles during the Wolfpack’s 41-7 win over Georgia State.
Riley Hilton, Presbyterian - Nation Ford grad started at tight end and caught three passes for 11 yards during the Blue Hose’s 24-0 loss to Austin Peay.
Farrika Grier, South Carolina State - the running back from Lancaster carried the ball six times for 18 yards during the Bulldogs’ 38-0 loss to Central Florida. Grier also caught a pass for seven yards.
Scott Robinson Jr., South Carolina State - South Pointe grad made the first two tackles of his college career during the Bulldogs’ loss to Central Florida.
Jerome Pettiway, South Carolina State - punter from York had another good week kicking the football, with eight punts for a 43.8-yard average against Central Florida. Pettiway hit two kicks longer than 50 yards and had another two downed inside the 20-yard line.
Zeek Rodney, Wake Forest - senior defensive lineman from South Pointe made a tackle-for-loss, broke up a pass and recorded four quarterabck hurries during the Demon Deacons’ 51-20 win over Towson.
Nick Sciba, Wake Forest - Clover’s Sciba hit three field goals during Wake Forest’s win over Towson. The true freshman connected from 35 yards and twice from 27. He also successfully hit five extra points.
Kendrick Hicks, Wingate - Rock Hill High’s Hicks piled up seven tackles during the Bulldogs’ 27-13 win over Fayetteville State.
Local NFL players’ performances
One season-opening NFL game contained four of Rock Hill’s active NFL players. Houston, with South Pointe’s Jadeveon Clowney and Northwestern’s Johnathan Joseph, faced New England, sporting Northwestern’s Cordarrelle Patterson and South Pointe’s Stephon Gilmore. The latter pair got the best of the Texans in a 27-20 win.
Gilmore shine brightest of the bunch, making a Patriots-high eight tackles, defending two passes and intercepting one in the end zone.
Joseph had a strong start to his 13th season in the league, making seven tackles and defending a pass. Clowney had two tackles, while Patterson returned a kickoff for 19 yards, carried the ball three times for 13 yards and added a six-yard catch.
Benjamin Watson, New Orleans - Watson caught four passes for 44 yards during his second debut for the Saints, a 48-40 shootout loss to Tampa Bay.