Heart and Dumbells defining Dolphins

By Steve Seagle
Posted 5/15/07

As Logan Hickman and Chandler Davis walked across a stage at The Warf to receive their high school diploma's the duo opened a new chapter of their lives.

After hard work and dedication Hickman signed a scholarship to play for Southern Miss, while …

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Heart and Dumbells defining Dolphins

Posted

As Logan Hickman and Chandler Davis walked across a stage at The Warf to receive their high school diploma's the duo opened a new chapter of their lives.

After hard work and dedication Hickman signed a scholarship to play for Southern Miss, while Davis will report to camp on Tulane's campus.

Along with the rest of the 2006 graduation class on the Dolphins roster, the two have created the foundation for a successful football program at Gulf Shores High School and only the underclassmen hoping to fill their shoes determine how far success goes.

"When I got down here it was like starting over," said sixth year head coach Daune Davis. "The group that is graduating stuck with me and were believing in what we were going to do. It all started in the weight room. Logan and Chandler were skinny guys, but they hit the weights hard and developed themselves. They also developed as leaders and that is a tell tell sign with the young guys. If they have the same work habits and strive to get better our program will continue to go in the right direction."

Installing a new thought and belief system is hard for any teacher, but Davis has his players believing in themselves and in his system.

Davis said the word lose is not in his players vocabulary and stresses the mental aspect of the game along with training.

Actions speak louder than words and after a gritty performance in the spring game senior quarterback Gary Johnston stated he was going to lead the Dolphins in 2007 without ever saying a word.

During the game against Madison Academy Johnston came out of the game holding his hand with a finger injury that looked excruciating. What looked like a sure break was actually a dislocation, and after having it popped back into place and tapped up he was right back in the game.

In a late defensive series as the Dolphins were getting pushed back into their own territory, Johnston laid out a Mustang running back with a hit that energized the defense and forced the drive to stall.

Character and heart are things that are learned by example and Gulf Shores is exemplifying those qualities this spring season.

With hard work comes success and even the freshman class has had tastes. The group has lost just one game since entering middle school (the freshman championship game was the only loss).

"For that group all they know is winning," Davis said. "It's all about mental makeup and it's very important to continue that as we build."

Even with the bright outlook for the Dolphins a lot of work still has to be done. Johnston showed tendencies to take off and run if he sensed pressure in the pocket, but found success moving the ball against Madison Academy.

With an inexperienced offensive line a mobile quarterback is invaluable. At the same time Johnston will have to work on making his reads quicker to capitalize on a defenses that stay at home waiting on the quarterback to take off.

"There were some things we looked at on film," Davis said. "Anytime Gary takes off that is a new dimension he gives us. He has the ability to scramble and take off and gain yards, but there were times were he could have made the throw with a quicker read."

Davis also added that experience and time will develop Johnston who made his first start last Friday.

For several of the young Dolphins the spring game meant a first start at the varsity level, and after just eight practices Davis' expectations couldn't have been anything else but exceeded.