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Davidson Day grows from JV to powerhouse

Every so often, Davidson Day football coach Chad Grier has to pinch himself to make sure he’s not dreaming.

His oldest son, Will, a former national high school player of the year, is a quarterback on full scholarship at Florida.

His his middle son, Nash, is one of the world’s biggest social-media stars.

Hayes, his youngest son, could be the school’s next big-time quarterback. He also appears on his way to social-media superstardom.

And coach Grier’s football team – fresh off a fourth straight state finals appearance in the team’s four seasons of existence – recently had six players sign college football scholarships.

Not to mention one of North Carolina’s best junior football players, running back Cade Carney, recently transferred in from Davie County.

“Man, this school didn’t even own a ball when we got started in 2010,” Grier said. “I guess we’ve come a long way.”

Having six players sign college scholarships is more likely expected from a large 4A public school, like Myers Park or Greensboro Page. Davidson Day is a private school of 155 students, with 85 boys in grades nine through 12.

The scholarship signings represent 14 percent of the school’s male student body. Glen Coates signed with Army; Trevor Darby to Elon; Anthony DiGioia (who followed Will Grier at quarterback) to Furman; Cullen McGahan to Bentley; Jacob Robinson to Western Carolina; and Howard Strachan to Brown.

Unbelievable

“It’s crazy,” Grier said of his team and family’s success. “It’s the grace of God and I’m not exaggerating. If you really broke down what’s happened here, well, I could say ‘I’m taking this to DreamWorks to try to make a movie,’ and they would say, ‘It’s not believable, it’s not explainable.”

Well, Grier and Davidson Day are in discussions with a production company called 44 Blue about producing a reality show that will feature Davidson Day and several other high school teams.

Davidson Day might be interesting because:

• The football coach’s son, Nash, lives in Hollywood, is making movies and has a clothing line with brother Hayes.



• The football coach owns a management company that promotes his boys.



• Davidson Day football is pretty good. Grier espouses a wide-open offense that features mostly passing and maddening offensive production.



In four seasons, Davidson Day’s record is 44-6 and the Patriots have won three state championships. Davidson Day has scored at least 60 points 11 times, 70 points twice and 100 points once.

The games are rarely boring.

From jayvee to championships

Grier started the program five years ago as a junior varsity. Good fortune came fast. Davidson Day drove to Hilton Head (S.C.) Christian for its first game and won 89-0.

Game 2, Davidson Day beat Charlotte Latin 50-0. The next week, Grier said he just knew Rock Hill South Pointe would put his young team in its place. Well, the Patriots led 35-6 at halftime and won big. Davidson Day finished 10-0 that season.

“We treated (the season) like varsity, but for everybody else jayvee was an afterthought,” Grier said. “I said we’ll find out where we are next year.”

In the first varsity season, in 2011, Davidson Day went 11-1 and won an N.C. Independent Schools Division III state title. Two more state titles followed in Division II.

Last season, Davidson Day lost to rival SouthLake Christian in its fourth straight state championship game – a year when Grier rebuilt after graduating seven seniors, including national player of the year Will Grier.

“The outside perception versus reality of what we really have is a little comical to me,” Grier said. “People assume we’re a factory of stud athletes. If the season started right now, we’ll have a very small roster.

“I’ve got 14 who can play high school at a really high level and 10 of them will play in college. No question, we’ll be very competitive next season, but we’ll need to stay healthy.”

So Grier heads off into another offseason, dealing with his younger sons’ burgeoning acting careers, his oldest son’s college football career and his high school football team’s championship dreams.

“It’s so surreal,” Grier said. “I think I’m past pinching myself because this has become the new normal for me. We’ve been afforded some great opportunities. My kids have experienced things most kids can only dream of.

“But this is what we deal with. We enjoy it. And I really enjoy coaching, too. I just couldn’t think of doing anything else. It’s just too much danged fun.”

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