ShareThis Page

Kittanning's Davis handles double duty

| Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, 12:16 a.m.
Kittanning senior Blake Davis executes an onside kick during practice on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.
Kittanning senior Blake Davis kicks off during practice Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.

At Kittanning's football practice Thursday afternoon, senior Blake Davis aimed for the uprights.

That night, he stood under a set of them at Deer Lakes' multi-purpose stadium and guarded a soccer net.

This is Davis' final fall of double sports duty. A three-year starter at kicker in football and at goalkeeper in soccer, he's a valuable asset for both teams. He remains undecided about which sport he'll pursue after high school. For now, he's savoring the opportunity to split his time and attention.

“It's a different atmosphere with each team,” Davis said.

He dabbled in football and soccer during his formative years. Soccer started earlier — he estimated that, by age 4, he'd started playing at the YMCA.

Davis stuck with soccer as his only fall sport until eighth grade, when the urge to try football — and be near his friends — became too great to ignore. He stopped playing for his travel soccer club, Northern Crew, at age 12. Instead, he became Kittanning's quarterback.

Oddly enough, Davis didn't kick much for the eighth-grade team. And when he did, he used the straight-on method, which Davis referred to as the “toe-ball” style.

Indoor soccer kept Davis in touch with the sport during the winter of his eighth-grade year. But the ensuing fall, Davis returned to the gridiron.

Speed and a bit of arm strength made Davis a functional quarterback. But he lacked size as well as a passion for football's violence.

During the winter of his freshman year, Davis tried out for a different travel soccer club, Northern Steel, and made the team as a goalkeeper. Around the time Davis joined Northern Steel, Colby Owen served as a coach within the organization. Owen, now Kittanning's coach for a third season, did not work with Davis directly, but he heard about the goalkeeper through his cohorts.

“I sort of had a good pulse on the players from this area who were playing for that club,” Owen said. “Fortunately for him, we were in need of a goalie when I first started. And fortunately for us, he was certainly able to fill that role.”

Davis joined Kittanning's soccer team as a sophomore but found a way to stay involved with football — kicking.

“In ninth grade, I didn't really kick,” Davis said. “But then I worked on it over the whole summer, with no formal training at all. I just went and did it.”

Each of the past two seasons, Davis earned all-section honors as a goalkeeper. Those accomplishments failed to offset the frustration Davis felt as he watched the Wildcats struggle in obscurity, managing five wins in two years.

Kittanning's football team hardly fared better in 2010 and '11, winning one game each season. But at least people filled the stands.

Fans can create pressure, however. And kickers, much like goalies, rarely get attention for good reasons. Davis' double duty begs the question: Which situation is more stressful: a crunch-time field goal or a penalty kick in a tie game?

The senior sided with the former of the two choices.

“If I make that, I'm like the hero,” Davis said. “If I miss it, I'm the worst kid ever. But they're both equally tough as far as mental pressure goes.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-543-1303 Ext. 1321.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.