The LaBelle Cowboys listed 27 players on their 2003 varsity roster, but on offense, they were a one-man team.That singular star was running back Matt Davidson. As a sophomore, Davidson accounted for 63 percent of LaBelle’s scoring and 48 percent of its total yards from scrimmage last season. Those totals would have been even greater if the Cowboys had another offensive option to distract defenses.”He was a marked man,” LaBelle coach Ron Dunbar said of Davidson. “Everybody we played keyed on him, and he still had a tremendous year.”
Davidson’s success wasn’t shared by his team. Undersized and undermanned, the Cowboys finished just 3-7 and were winless in district play. The poor record sapped any enthusiasm Davidson had about his individual accolades.”I don’t care how many yards I get or how many touchdowns I score,” he said. “If I rush for less but we play better, that’s fine with me. I want to win; that’s all that matters.”
Fast forward to 2004 and Davidson may get his wish. A summer commitment to lifting weights and biweekly sessions at Athlete Profile, an advanced training facility in Fort Myers, will result in LaBelle fielding its strongest and quickest team in recent memory.”The last couple of years we were always the young team that was getting beat up,” Davidson said. “Now we’re older, stronger and faster.”No one fits that description more than Davidson. Thanks to his time at Athlete Profile, the junior sliced a full tenth of a second off his 40-yard dash time; he now runs in the 4.55-second range. In the spring, Davidson placed 10th in the 183-pound weight class at the Class A weightlifting finals.
A workout fiend, Davidson has been known to incorporate homemade plyometric training, such as jumping over chicken coops and pushing his brother around on a lawn mower.”The fact is he just loves the game and he wants to better himself,” Dunbar said. “He sets a great example for the rest of the kids. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a coach’s dream.”
Davidson’s dream is simple — he wants to be a part of resurrecting a Cowboys program that reached the Class 3A Florida Finals in 1995.”This year, I’m a little more vocal, getting on the guys a little bit more,” he said. “Our intensity at practice is higher than it’s been in a long time. This is our time to shine — definitely.”
Back powered offense in sophomore season