It was a magical season for the Patrick Henry football team in Ashland this past year.
The Patriots, under the direction of third-year coach Bryan Davis, went 7-3 in the regular season, advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and ended their season with a terrific effort at Massaponax in the second round of the playoffs, to finish with an 8-4 mark.
Thus the expectations for 2017 season, with the return of many of the skilled-position players, is extremely high.
However, the virtuoso of this football mastery in Hanover County, will not be back to wave his wand or blow his whistle.
Davis, 43, has decided to step down following his third year. He went 18-14 in three years as the Patriots mentor.
“I am very proud of all that we have accomplished here at Patrick Henry over the past three years,” Davis explained. “I think we’ve laid a terrific foundation through hard work and integrity for future generations of Patriots at PHHS.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided not to coach next season at PH. I thank everyone, especially the players and coaches, for all of their dedication and for all of the great memories. I’ll forever be a Patriots fan.”
Davis, known as a player’s coach, gained much respect and admiration from his student-athletes.
Most recently a product of that player-coach relationship would be junior Kaleb Smith, who picked up his first offer from Virginia on Monday, after making great strides as a two-sport athlete at Patrick Henry for three years.
“Coach Davis showed interest and confidence in me my freshmen year,” Smith said. “I appreciate his support and wish him and his family the best.”
Prior to Patrick Henry, Davis, a 1997 Ferrum graduate, spent six seasons as football coach at Topsail High School in North Carolina, where he had a 40-30 record. In his final season, Topsail finished third in the East Central Conference.
Before Topsail, Davis began his head coaching career at Southwest Guilford High School in High Point, N.C. There, he led his 2004, 2005 and 2006 teams to the state playoffs after inheriting a program that had lost 18 consecutive games, and 32 of its previous 33.
His father Dave Davis, served as head coach at Ferrum for 17 seasons before retiring after the 2010 season.
Bryan Davis, who had a chance to coach his son Parker at Patrick Henry, was the third head football coach for the Patriots since Ray Long’s 2009 retirement, after 28 years on the sidelines and with 222 victories and the 1994 Group AAA, Division 5 state championship.