Lake Norman & Mooresville

Davidson Day excited for first football season

Davidson Day is readying to field its first football team this fall.

Since the hiring of Chad Grier as the Patriots' inaugural football coach in April, the program has already grown tremendously.

Davidson Day has had to start from zero - having to order everything from its first football and uniforms to having to figure out transportation and who will line their field.

Grier, who played at Charlotte Latin before taking his talent to East Carolina, has been excited with his first head coaching experience.

"We have great kids and great families," he said. "We have had tremendous support."

Grier said building Davidson Day's football program, which will play at the junior varsity level this season and will also have middle school team coaching, has had its challenges.

"You spend a lot of time doing things you don't ordinarily think about having to do as part of coaching a football team," he said.

One of the biggest issues was getting teams to play the Patriots, as they got into the game so late in the scheduling process.

Grier said he called everybody he knew and was lucky to field a 10-game JV schedule.

"We have a really, really tough schedule for a first-year school," he said. "I'm fortunate to have friends who are great coaches and run great programs and were willing to help."

Davidson Day will have two home games this season and will travel to play teams across both South and North Carolina.

The team will play Hilton Head Christian for their inaugural game and the first-ever football game in Davidson will take place Aug. 27 against Charlotte Latin's JV team.

The Patriots will also play Charlotte Country Day, Providence Day and Rock Hill's South Pointe High.

Davidson Day athletic director Tim Weir has been helping Grier with off-the-field duties since he started his job in July to let Grier focus on the Xs and Os.

"As we go through these growing pains, we're already laughing about it never being this hard again," said Weir.

One of the most important aspects of the program Grier has aimed to build is pride and tradition within the program.

"It's important that we created a culture that stands for all the values that we're all about," he said.

Grier came up with "I am a Patriot," a list of seven core values that he and his coaching staff ask his players to live by.

"It's all about building a program that we can all be proud of," said Grier.

"I want our team, our school, our entire community to be proud of this football program."

The Patriots, who have had 40 players in workouts between JV and the middle school squads, have been working on conditioning this summer and on small-group drills.

The team have also played against the Stanley, Cannon, Mount Pleasant and Charlotte Latin varsity squads in seven-on-seven games.

The team, like the program, will be young, being made up mostly of freshmen and eighth-graders. Not a single Patriots' player has a driver's license yet.

The offense will be led by Grier's son, Will, and Manny Johnson - both of whom were named Football University Youth All-Americans last year.

Will, a freshman, can throw the ball well and has already gathered Division I college interest.

Manny, a rising eighth-grader, has a lot of potential along with classmate, Ronald Albritton, a 270-pound lineman.

The team will not have much depth, as Grier foresees only about 25 players on the JV team this season.

Grier said he'll run a multiple spread offense, lining up in the shotgun and changing up their backfield.

On the defensive side, Grier plays under a 4-3 scheme.

Grier, who hopes Davidson will embrace the team as the only high school football squad in town, wants to build a first-class program as the team continues to grow.

"I want this program to be all about excellence - period," he said. "We hope that the community recognizes that we're doing things the right way so that they'll want to be a part of it."