Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trinity Deals with Mixture of Emotions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trinity Deals with Mixture of Emotions

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

TALLAHASSEE -- When the final gun sounded, the Trinity Christian players ran onto the field, jumping up and down, pounding each other on the shoulder pads, letting out yelps.

Storm Davis, the special teams and offensive line coach, stood off to the side, watching the scene and smiling a smile that was -- what? -- contented, happy, bittersweet. Probably all of the above.

The Conquerors had won the Class A state title, rolling to a 42-7 victory against American Heritage. Davis was celebrating in his own quiet way.

"It's kind of surreal," he said.

We always hear athletes or coaches who are dealing with the loss of a loved one talk about the playing field as a sanctuary, a place they go to get away from the pain for a few hours. But that doesn't necessarily work here. For Davis -- and for the Trinity players, coaches and fans -- this celebration brought a mix of emotions, some wonderful, some wistful.

It was just 13 days earlier, moments after a 34-7 victory against P.K. Yonge put Trinity in the state semifinals, that linebackers coach George Davis -- Storm's father -- collapsed on the field. The players were quickly shepherded to the locker room. On the bus ride home, they got the news. George Davis, 67, had died.

So to prepare for a semifinal game against Jay -- and after that 42-7 victory -- the state championship game, the Trinity Christian players watched film, practiced and went to a funeral.

"I was worried about them," Storm Davis said, "but they're very mature."

They're still 16, 17 and 18-year-old kids. But in 2002, they aged more than a year.

It was the last Sunday in April, the week of the district baseball tournament, that Conquerors shortstop Brandon Coffey -- the city's batting champion -- went to Plant City for a motocross race, flipped over the handlebars and fractured his fifth vertebrae. …

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