The first time I ever talked to Drew Davis was the summer of 2007.
He’d been hired the previous day as teacher and head baseball/assistant football coach at Section High School, and then SHS head football coach Jeff Monroe passed along his number.
During our interview, he laid out his coaching history, his athletic background and his plan for the Section baseball program. In the course of that, he made a statement that made my eyebrows raise, making me glad it wasn’t a face-to-face conversation. The paraphrased version of the statement went like this: the goal is to contend for state championships.
Lofty goal, considering that the SHS baseball program at the time had rarely made the playoffs.
Section didn’t make the playoffs during Davis’ first two seasons, but the signs were there that the Lions were improving. They were ranked No. 1 in the early part of the 2009 season, and the next year, with a team full of freshmen and junior high kids, made the playoffs for the first time.
Those kids were the ones that five seasons later took the field at Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, to play in a state championship series.
I remember that day for its historic context. Jackson County has a rich high school athletics history. Our schools have won state titles in numerous sports. They’ve played for state championships in numerous sports. But never before had a team from Jackson County played for a baseball title until that day. And then I recalled my first conversation with Davis, and I realized what I thought was just “coach speak” was really a realistic goal that Davis was determined to see his accomplish.
As Davis leaves to serve as an assistant at Scottsboro, he built Section into a program that’s been as consistent as any in north Alabama over the past decade (158 wins, six area titles, seven playoff appearances, six straight second-round appearances, two quarterfinal appearances and a state runner-up finish) and one that has seven starters returning from a quarterfinal team.
Davis had a lofty goal when he came to Section. But through his and his players’ hard work, they proved that lofty goal wasn’t unobtainable.