COVINGTON, Ga. — Often it feels reflexive to look to an area’s best team to find the area’s top player. But Newton’s Tariq Davis provides an exception to that thought.
Although the Rams started hot, a rough midseason slump doomed their postseason aspirations. Still, Davis’ 26 goals scored in 2018 not only led the county, but set a new Newton High School record for single season goals scored. His play often singlehandedly helped the Rams offense win or stay in games, even when losing, and it warranted honoring him with Player of the Year recognition.
In this Q&A with Davis, he talks about his stellar senior season and plans for his future.
STOVALL: What was the biggest secret to your record breaking success this season, especially given that you made such a jump from your junior year?
DAVIS: “It was really the work ethic that I put into it. It was very different and I handled situations on the field better as a senior than I did as a junior. For example, if I made a mistake I wouldn’t dwell on it, but I would just focus on the next opportunity and convert it.”
STOVALL: How does it feel to get the recognition you’re getting for the kind of senior year you had?
DAVIS: “It really feels good to know I’ve gotten this kind of recognition in the form of this sort of achievement. I’m grateful, yet humbled.”
STOVALL: What would you say was the highlight moment or highlight play of this season?
DAVIS: “I would have to say it was the goal against South Gwinnett. Fredo assisted me by lobbing the ball over the defense toward the left of the 18 box, and I struck a left-footed volley outside the box and it went in. That was a pretty cool moment, given the fact about five of their players were in shock and awe for a moment after that happened.”
STOVALL: What was the biggest challenge of the season, and how did you work to overcome it?
DAVIS: “Just adversity. There was a thought in my mind where I was questioning myself, asking myself, ‘What if this season is like last season?’ But I just brushed it off because I knew I was faster, stronger, better physically and just more skilled than I was last year.”
STOVALL: How are plans for college progressing? Are you preparing to play at the next level?
DAVIS: “I’m currently in the process of working on going to a college to play soccer, and I would say that I’m preparing by just staying in shape and still studying the game that I love.”
STOVALL: What will you remember and miss most about your playing days at Newton?
DAVIS: “I’m really going to miss everything about it, from my teammates down to the coach and the supporters. But I’ll still be visiting Newton in the near future.”