By Josh Stephenson
Photo by Clark Larson
That was Alta football’s mantra from Day 1 of the 2016 season. Coach Alema Te’o had high expectations and knew this team was the best Alta had seen in several years, and the team did not disappoint. Led by Gatorade Player of the Year Josh Davis, Alta’s offense was nearly unstoppable.
The Hawks’ numbers in 2016 were ridiculous. They put up 633 total points in 13 games, averaging an insane 48.7 points per game. This team set school records in number of passing touchdowns (42), all-purpose yards (8,448), yards per game (523.3), and both the longest pass and rush play (95 yards each), just to name a few.
The now two-time 4A MVP, Davis, is second all-time in Utah with 8,327 career yards and his 2,645 yards this season is also second all-time in Utah. Davis is the Utah Gatorade player of the year, the KSL News 4A MVP, Deseret News 4A MVP, Tribune first-team all-state, and on the all-Tribune team. Te’o has nothing but high praise for Davis.
“Josh’s biggest strengths are his work ethic, his leadership by example and that he is a man of his word,” Te’o said. “He is very kind to his teammates and understood the value of team chemistry and relationship building. He is a dynamic leader and person, on and off the field.”
Here are a few more of his big numbers.
For his career, he ran for 5,291 yards, the third-best all-time mark. He had 269 carries in 2016, most in the state. He averaged 203.5 yards per game, second-best in the state in 2016. He had 28 rushing touchdowns, second in the state, along with three receiving touchdowns.
Davis recorded 56 career rushing touchdowns, eighth most in state history. He also led the state in number of kickoffs returned for touchdowns with two. He finished his career with 72 total touchdowns, third most in state history. The senior had 3,836 all-purpose total yards in 2016, the best single-season mark in state history, and averaged 295.1 yards per game, again the best single-season mark in state history. He also has the third highest number of career points scored, with 434.
Despite being an outstanding player statistically and being part of a program that met relative success under his leadership, Davis received very little attention from Division 1 schools. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound back received some notice from the University of Utah, Utah State and BYU, but he never received formal offers from any of them.
His formal offers did come from Air Force, Army, Navy, Weber State, Southern Utah, Florida Atlantic and Idaho. Ultimately, he signed with the Wildcats of Weber State, passing on all three military academies.
“He is the best running back Alta has ever seen,” Te’o said, “and I say that with confidence.”
Davis finished off his high school career on the track. He is a sprinter, running the 100-meter, with his best time at 11.35 seconds, and the 200, with a time of 23.38. He also participates in the long jump, with a distance of 6.20 meters.
Most notably, however, Davis’ best results come in the team setting. He runs the 4×100 relay with football teammates Zach Alsop, London Rockwood and Landon Maxfield. The relay team was among the best in the state all season long and finished second at the state championships.
Alta High senior Josh Stephenson wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year. Josh is a senior at Alta and been writing for school publications for three years. He will attend Utah State in the fall.