Jeff Sims has helped
develop three quarterbacks at Fort Scott Community College who earned
scholarships to four-year schools between 2007 and 2008. But this year
it's been a quarterback from a four-year program who has come to Fort
Scott and helped Sims achieve one of his career goals.
Dominique Davis has
quarterbacked the Greyhounds to the Jayhawk Community College Conference
title and the No. 2 spot in the National Junior College Athletic
Association rankings this season. On Sunday, Davis led Fort Scott to the
NJCAA Region VI championship over rival Butler, 13-12, and a berth in
the national title game.
All those are firsts under
Sims, who came to Fort Scott three years ago after stints working for
junior college programs in California and Minnesota with a specific
purpose in mind.
“I came to the Jayhawk
Conference specifically to beat Butler Community College,'' Sims said.
“When I came into the league they had won the championship six years in
a row. My first year we took second behind them when we had a
quarterback (Greg Cross) who went to Pittsburgh. Last year we had two
quarterbacks (Zac Dickey/Pittsburg State and Arvel Nelson/Texas
Southern) who earned scholarships and were second again.
“Our school hadn't beaten
them since 1986 and had a 36-1-1 overall record versus Butler coming
into this year. Butler came into this year as the preseason No. 1 team
and as the two-time defending national champion.''
In other words, Sims
wanted to compete against the best.
While Sims was figuring
out a way to beat Butler those first two seasons, Davis was beginning
his college career at Boston College. The brother of NFL tight end
Desmond Clark, Davis had been mildly recruited out of Kathleen High in
Lakeland, FL, where he was regarded as a dual-threat quarterback.
But after a redshirt
season in 2007 as a true freshman, the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder entered
2008 as the backup to senior Chris Crane. When Crane went down with an
injury, Davis stepped in to start the final three regular-season games
along with the ACC Championship game and the Eagles appearance in the
Music City Bowl.
Davis completed 63 of 138
passes for 741 yards and six touchdowns during that stint and set
himself up to land the starting job at BC for 2009. But in May the
university suspended Davis for academic reasons and in early June he
announced his intentions to transfer.
Instead of moving to
another Football Bowl Subdivision program where he’d have to sit out a
year before becoming eligible, Davis chose instead to spend a year at
Despite his big-time
background, Davis fit in well with his new teammates, according to Sims.
“He never told us where
he’s been or where he’s going,’’ Sims said. “It’s always been about what
he had to do here. He has a lot of character. In reality, he’s not too
big for his britches. He’s a really good guy.’’
The highlight of Davis’
season at Fort Scott to date has no doubt been his performance in
helping the Greyhounds finally unseat Butler on Nov. 2. Fort Scott
scored a 14-10 victory in the game that gave the school its first league
title since 1974.
Sims gave credit to Davis
for making a big play that helped secure the triumph.
“We scored on the first
drive to take a 7-0 lead, but they come back with a couple of scores and
get up 10-7 on us with eight minutes to go in the game,’’ Sims said. “We
take the ball at the 4-yard line and he drives us 96 yards in a
seven-minute drive to win the ballgame.
“The coolest thing about
the drive is on a second-and-7 play he takes a 12-yard sack. You would
think he’d be panicking. But instead he jogs to the sideline and tells
me the play he wants to call. He wound up completing a pass to the
3-yard line and he scores two plays later.’’
Entering Sunday’s regional
title game against Butler, Davis had completed 79 of 156 passes for
1,156 yards and five touchdowns for the Greyhounds.
One of the major-college
programs that has been following Davis since he departed Boston College
is East Carolina. The Pirates actually attempted to bring Davis to
Greenville straight from BC, but weren't able to do that, according to
But ECU kept pursuing
Davis and finally received an verbal commitment from him on November 2.
“They followed him out
here from Boston College,’’ Sims said. “He was offered by some other
schools. I think the reason he picked East Carolina is his brother did
some research and the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (Todd
Fitch) there came highly recommended.
“They’re getting the most
accurate quarterback I’ve ever been around. In practice, there are times
when we’ll complete 80 or 90 percent of our passes. He’s had two games
where his completion percentage was 75 percent.’’
Davis now looms as the
heir apparent at ECU to replace sixth-year senior Patrick Pinkney. He’ll
have two years of eligibility remaining with the Pirates, and is
expected to compete with underclassmen Josh Jordan and Rio Johnson for
the starting job in 2010.