Anyone trying to score a goal against the St. Xavier lacrosse team this postseason should proceed with caution because, more than likely, Davis Kannapell will be waiting.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior defenseman’s job is to make sure that no opponent comes across the middle — or even contemplates it — for a clean shot at the goal.
“That’s right,” he said, with a smile, earlier this week.
It’s a role that Kannapell relishes.
“I’m not the fastest guy out there, but I’m one of the biggest,” he said.
And Kannapell, who was also a tight end for the Tigers’ football team, has been known to deliver a big hit or two. One of those occurred over spring break in Virginia, where on one play Kannapell knocked an opposing player horizontal, as well as leveling one of his own teammates while also recovering the ball in one fell swoop.
“It’s kind of like running into a small truck,” St. X coach Scott Howe said.
In addition to leading the Tigers in did-you-get-the-license-number-of-that-truck hits, Kannapell also tops the team in takeaways.
Now, he hopes to help St. X (14-4), which is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 9 in the Midwest according to insidelacrosse.com, to its second straight state title and its seventh in eight years.
Q: You started playing lacrosse in the sixth grade, were you always a defenseman?
A: I started off as a goalie. No one else on the team wanted to play it, so my dad (who was the coach) made me play it.
Q: How did you come to be a defenseman?
A: My travel team had a game in Baltimore and we already have five goalies, so I picked up a D-pole and started the next game, and I’ve been playing it ever since.
Q: What was the highlight of your football career?
A: Against Cincinnati Moeller it was third-and-11 and they called a seam pass over the middle for me. I caught it and there was a guy coming over to blindside me and I ran him over and ran it to the 10-yard line.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your lacrosse career so far?
A: This year when we played Trinity, coming back from being down by two goals with a minute left and winning in overtime.
Q: What’s high school been like for you?
A: When I came in I was 5-10, 160, so football and lacrosse have taught me a lot about life and working hard. St. X is not an easy school to go to, but I think it’s prepared me to go to college and out into the world.
Q: You’re going to Centre College in the fall, what will you be studying?
A: Finance and history. I’d like to become a history teacher and coach football or lacrosse at a high school.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Just hang out with my friends. I like to hang out with my dad a lot (too) — play golf with him and we watch football a lot. I like to lift, that’s probably my number one thing.
Q: Who’s your pick to win the Derby?
A: I like Ocho Ocho Ocho, just because of the name.
DAVIS KANNAPELL UP CLOSE
School: St. Xavier
Sports: Football, lacrosse
Student-athlete: Davis is a two-sport standout. As a tight end on the football team he had 18 receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who went 8-5 and lost to eventual Class 6-A state champion Trinity, 9-3, in the quarterfinals. As a defenseman on the lacrosse team he tops the Tigers in takeaways. Off the field Davis, who has a 3.1 GPA, has been involved in the French Club, Habitat 4 Humanity, the French Scrabble Team and with St. Joseph of Arimathea. After graduation he will attend Centre College, where he’ll play football and possibly lacrosse.
Family: Davis, 18, lives with his father, Clay; his mother, Crystal; and his two younger sisters — Cauley, 16, and Carter Ann, 13.
St. X football coach Will Wolford: Davis is a great kid who happens to be a very talented football player. His best football is still in front of him.
St. X lacrosse coach Scott Howe: He’s an intimidating presence on the field. The team respects him too. He’s a good leader, one of the more outspoken, he’s kind of the rah-rah guy.