Davila leading Aquinas to hot start
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
It’s easy to be nervous when you are taking over the starting quarterback job for one of the top football programs in the Kansas City Metro. It’s another thing to let those nerves cause you to play poorly and lead to your coach pulling you from a game.
Those nerves were exactly what Richard Davila was battling midway through the first game of last season as he took over the starting quarterback duties at St. Thomas Aquinas. The Saints were struggling against a North Kansas City squad that would eventually go 1-9. Davila wasn’t playing well and coach Mike Thomas would pull him from that game.
The Saints would go on to win that game and Davila, a junior at the time, would start the next game. From that point on nerves weren’t a problem for Davila. He has taken over the leadership role and last year led the Saints to a 10-2 record and they are 3-0 so far this season.
“Last year, I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous,” Davila said. “After that first game we got to Miege and we actually won that game and it gave us such a boost of confidence especially on offense. We had so many juniors who hadn’t played or started. With that we just kind of carried on the rest of the season and that has carried over to this season.”
Head coach Mike Thomas was the one who made the decision to pull Davila last year. Thomas said he could see the nerves last year, but this season Davila has taken charge of this team.
“We saw it a little bit last year,” Thomas said. “He was kind of nervous as a junior with the seniors around taking that leadership role. This year even in the weight room and the offseason conditioning he has just stepped it up. He’s not afraid to say come on let’s get going or we need to this. It’s been real special watching him.”
Davila knows the importance of being a leader especially as a senior.
“I actually like it, because if I am in a good mood then everybody is going to feed off of my energy,” Davila said. “Especially coming off of a junior year where I was a little nervous at the beginning. Coming off of that since we went 10-2 gives me and the offense and defense a little more edge with being experienced.”
Last year the Saints defense was one of the main factors in winning games. This season the offense has exploded scoring 52, 53 and 48 points in its first three games. Davila has been leading the way throwing for nine touchdowns while running for another three. In last week’s 48-0 win over Blue Valley North he was the Saints leading rusher with 93 yards on 11 carries to go with 155 yards through the air.
Davila is a player who just truly loves the game. He is a dual threat as a quarterback but his athletic ability might lead him to another position if he plays football on the next level.
“You ask these guys when they are juniors or seniors if they want to play college and Richard is that kind of a player,” Thomas said. “He loves football and his answer is I just want to play. I told him they may not want him to play quarterback and he said I don’t care I’ll play wherever they want me to. He is a lover of the sport and he gets after it and studies it and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
This year the Saints find themselves with another strong team but the road to the state playoffs is going to be tough. Blue Valley moves into the district with Gardner-Edgerton, Pittsburg and Aquinas. Next week the Saints go to long time rival Miege for what is a tough rivalry game no matter what the records.
“We know every game is going to be a tough game,” Davila said. “We can’t look past one team because they could be a sleeper. We have to take it one game at a time and stay focused. Even if you are up 40-0 at halftime you have to come out strong because what you do in the third quarter sets the tone for the rest of the game.”
Olathe Northwest Ravens
Lone Jack Mules
Bishop Miege Stags
Liberty North Eagles
St. Paul Lutheran Saints
North Kansas City Hornets
Mill Valley Jaguars
Olathe East Hawks
Blue Springs Wildcats
St. Joseph Lafayette Fighting Irish
Kansas City Central Blue Eagles
Grain Valley Eagles
Park Hill Trojans
Central Heights Vikings
Raytown South Cardinals