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Scholar athlete: Natchez High’s Davis gets push he needs from those around him

Natchez High School football player Sidney Davis catches a pass during practice at the NHS practice field Wednesday. Davis has a 3.5 grade-point average and is involved with the school’s Beta Club and student council. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High School football player Sidney Davis catches a pass during practice at the NHS practice field Wednesday. Davis has a 3.5 grade-point average and is involved with the school’s Beta Club and student council. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Sidney Davis’ parents, Lashandra and Sidney Davis Sr., have two things they stress to their son: Study hard and stay away from the girls.

The standout all-purpose athlete for the Natchez High School football team currently boasts a 3.5 grade-point average, so he’s at least taking that part of the equation to heart.

“I can’t keep him away from the girls,” the elder Sidney Davis joked. “He doesn’t listen to that part.”

The NHS junior said he understands the importance of doing well in school, and not just on the football field, thanks to his supporting cast.

“I feel like you have to have good grades so you can go far in life,” Davis said.

That supporting cast includes all seven of his teachers, his coaches and, of course, his parents, Davis said.

“My teachers tell me I have the potential to go a long way,” Davis said. “I just listen to them and do what I have to do. My parents tell me I need to do my work all the time.”

Davis Sr. said in addition to stressing school work, he also tells his son that it’s important to be involved in extra curricular activities in addition to football. The younger Davis is also a member of the school’s Beta Club and student council.

“When you get ready to go to college, they look at all that,” Davis Sr. explained. “It helps him get into a good college and helps keep his grades up.”

Bulldogs head coach Lance Reed said he enjoys coaching Davis, not just because of his athletic abilities, but also because of his personality.

“The main thing is, he’s a great person,” Reed said. “He’s dependable, trustworthy and does everything we ask and handles his business in the classroom. He’s been a top student ever since he’s been with us.”

Reed also said it’s nice having one of the team’s better athletes show such dedication.

“It’s about leadership — he models what you want out of your entire team from a work ethic and character standpoint,” Reed said. “He’s not yet realized his impact on what he can do to lead, so we’re emphasizing with him being more aggressive with showing people the way things should be done.”

Davis said he realizes that other players are going to look up to him, which is extra motivation not to slack off, whether it’s academically or athletically.

“I just try to lead by example, whether it’s in the class or on the field,” Davis said. “I try to be the first in everything I do. It really isn’t that much pressure, I just have to step up to the plate.”

Davis’ father said he’s also stressed to his son that other players are watching him.

“I tell him that all the time,” Davis Sr. said. “That’s the reason he has to do well in school, because maybe it will motivate the others to do well, too. A lot of them look up to him.”

While it may be easy for Davis to put in the extra effort in football, Davis Sr. said his parents do have to give him that extra push with his schoolwork on occasion.

“He’s self-motivated on certain things, but we have to push him a little bit on the schoolwork,” Davis Sr. said. “But he gets there and gets his work done. He listens really well to everyone,”

Davis said it’s his ability to listen and remember lessons from school that has carried him up to this point.

“I get it in the classroom and it sticks,” Davis said. “If I don’t really understand something, though, I’ll go home and study.”

After high school, Davis said his goal is to play football at Mississippi State. He’s currently trying to earn an offer from the Bulldogs.

“I want to major in sports medicine, because if I don’t make it big time, I can at least be the athletic trainer for the big-time people,” Davis explained.

Against Laurel High School Friday, NHS will be without Davis, who is sidelined by a concussion he suffered two weeks ago against West Jones.

“I’m just trying every day to get better and working hard to come back,” Davis said. “Sitting on the sidelines and seeing plays that I could have made, it’s frustrating, but the way I see it, the other guys can make plays just as big as mine — or maybe even bigger.”

That kind of humble attitude is a testament to Davis’ parents, Reed said.

“His dad and mom are some of the best parents I’ve come across,” Reed said. “They’re there for him, and that makes all the difference in the world. I give them credit for raising a great young man.”

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