Eloy Santa Cruz Valley High School coach and athletic director Rishard Davis has an extensive background in football, including an attempt to walk-on at Arizona at the outset of the Mike Stoops era.
A standout defensive end from Maplesville (Ala.) High School about 30 miles from Selma, he headed to Tucson after graduating in 2003 with the hopes of sticking with the Wildcats, who were transitioning from John Mackovic to Stoops.
Davis, who is 56-21 in his seventh season at Santa Cruz, comments about that experience in our podcast interview with him.
He also discusses:
— The Dust Devils (7-1) playing St. Johns (6-1) in the Class 2A state semifinals on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gilbert Higley High School.
— The impact of senior running back/linebacker phenom Hunter Ogle, who has rushed for 1,666 yards on 150 carries with 20 touchdowns and also leads his defense with 48 tackles.
— His reason for returning to Tucson after a Hall of Fame career at Huntingdon College, a Division III school at Montgomery, Ala. In his three seasons with the Hawks, playing for coach Brent Hubbard, Davis broke several school records including career sacks (27), career tackles for loss (45), single-season sacks (10), single season tackles for loss (18.5) and sacks in a game (four).
— His experience coaching at Pusch Ridge in 2013 under head coach Troy Cropp and defensive coordinator Jerry Harris.
— His fortuitous start as a head coach in 2014 at Santa Cruz when all he wanted to do that year was teach and complete his master’s program in education.
— His satisfaction of coaching in Eloy, where he drives 50 miles to each day from his Oro Valley residence, although the thought has crossed his mind of being a head coach in Tucson. He has taken Santa Cruz to at least the semifinal round of the state playoffs four times now, including last season. He coached the Dust Devils to the 2017 2A championship game.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.