TULSA — In two years of high school football, Star Spencer linebacker Kenneth Davis had been a starter as a freshman on a state championship team, then struggled through a 1-9 season the next year.
In the summer before his junior season, when his third coach in three seasons took over the Bobcat program, Davis' emotions got the best of him.
“My first day on the job, I had to send Kenneth home,” coach James Harding said. “So our start was rough. When I came, I brought a totally different philosophy. Once that happened with Kenneth, the guys said, ‘You know, this guy's serious.'”
Harding knew Davis was going to be one of his best players. But he had to show the team that his expectations of his players would stand for everyone.
“It was a hard time for us with another new coach,” Davis said. “That day was a big turning point for me. We went 1-9 the year after we won a state championship.
“Me and coach talked about things and it got better from there.”
Davis, who averaged 14 tackles per game through four years as a starting linebacker, saw his high school career culminate Friday night with his appearance in the All-State football game at Tulsa Union, a 32-7 West victory.
The relationship between Harding and Davis made a full — and quick — turnaround after that first day. Over the next two seasons, Davis became a player the coach knew he could always count on. Needing to convert a two-point attempt to earn a playoff berth last season, Harding gave the ball to Davis.