BIRMINGHAM — On the field and on the court, Marlon Davidson is known for his strength.
But in the Class 6A state semifinals today against Woodlawn, the G.W. Carver standout has to be stronger than he’s ever been.
This isn’t the strength you find in a weight room, it’s deeper than athleticism. The five-star athlete has found the courage to play in honor of his mother, Cynthia Carter, who died Monday evening.
“I feel like showing the team that I’m strong for my mom, that they can pull this game off and be strong for themselves and the team to finish and get this ring this year. The only reason I’m here is because I felt like my mom would want me to be here,” Davidson said. “I feel like she would be pushing me to come here. So I went to school Tuesday with my head held high. I was proud of myself that I didn’t break down in school. Just thinking about her really hurts me. Luckily I got through the day.”
Davidson is known more for his football accomplishments. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive end is the No. 2 player in the country according to Rivals, fielding offers from powerhouses across the country.
On the court, Davidson’s frame and athleticism provide the Wolverines with a solid backup big. He traveled with the Wolverines to Birmingham on Tuesday for practice at Samford. He was laughing, joking with his teammates. It was a necessary escape.
“I just couldn’t bear to be in the house because of all the pictures. I just didn’t feel strong there,” Davidson said. “In the last 24 hours, I might’ve had three hours of sleep. I just can’t stop thinking about her face. Just thinking about the stuff she taught me. Just thinking about what she’d want from me. What she saw in me, and just seeing her face occurring and occurring, it really hurts me. Because I feel like if I would’ve been there I could’ve at least helped. But God takes people away for a reason. To either make you stronger or to become a better man or woman.”
Carter had been dealing with pain in her leg. The doctors told her it was tendinitis during her visit last Thursday. Feeling no relief, she went to a walk-in clinic on Monday.
“When she was coming out, they said she collapsed. And when she collapsed, she hit the back of her head on the concrete,” Davidson said. “They rushed her to the hospital as fast as they could, but they said she was fighting so long, it’s like she just gave out.”
Carver coach James “J.J.” Jackson would’ve understood if Davidson wanted to stay home. After losing his mother as a high school senior, he understood all too well.
“I lost my mom during the season, and my dad and coach told me at the same time it was my decision if I wanted to play or not. I wanted to play and I did. I had a pretty good game, and afterward it kind of weighs heavy on you. But it kind of keeps your mind off it a little bit just to go about your way until you get yourself together,” Jackson said. “I told him that it was his decision if he wanted to ride with us. But he called and said, ‘Coach, I’d like to still go and be with the team and do my part.’ I thought that was tremendous. That weighed heavy on my heart. He’s a bright young man with a great future, and his mom did a great job with him.”
Davidson said his mother attended all of his football games, regardless of location. She made all the basketball games her schedule allowed. He knows she’ll be there today.
“I feel like she’ll be there with me, guiding me through the game and helping me cheer on my teammates. Helping me play the best game I can play,” Davidson said. “Just her being there for me, and knowing that she’s always going to be behind me back, my guardian angel. I’ll take that 100 percent of the day. Because now she’s watching my every step. When she was here she couldn’t. Now she is.”
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