‘Comeback kid’ – Bigelow’s Ethan Davis

by Mark Oliver

On paper, it hasn’t been the season that the Bigelow Panthers had hoped for. For Panthers tackle/linebacker Ethan Davis, however, getting the chance to take the field this year has meant everything for the senior.

“Last year, I tore my ACL during the basketball state tournament,” Davis said. “It happened on the final play of the game, when I went up to make a shot and got knocked to the floor. I missed out on a season of baseball and football, and I wasn’t sure if I’d get the chance to play sports again.”

Davis was selected to this year’s 501 Football Team — 26 players representing all 11 counties of the 501. The team, sponsored by First Security Bank and First Service Bank, boasts the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Davis was nominated by his head coach, Jeff Starks.

“Ethan’s qualities on and off the field are leadership, hard work and his commitment to doing things right,” Starks wrote in his nomination. “He has worked hard to overcome his injury [to return to] sports this year and is always looking to help and encourage others. He is a true steward in his school.”

From the moment that he learned the extent of his injury, Davis made it his mission to return to the game he loves.

“My biggest goal this year was to come back and not get hurt again — and I’ve done that so far,” Davis said. “I’m not someone who gives up when something bad happens. I’ve worked hard to come back from my injury, and I think people have seen that this year. I’ve even been our leading tackler for a few of our games. To come back and contribute the way I have after missing all of last year has been a big deal for me.”

While recovering from his injury last season, Davis discovered a passion for helping athletes overcome adversity.

“After my injury, I started shadowing our athletic trainer, Tom Cantwell,” Davis said. “He got me interested in a career in sports medicine. I also had the opportunity to shadow UCA’s athletic trainer, David Strickland, during a game last year. I got to go in their locker room and see them tape up the athletes and help with any injuries that occur on the field. I haven’t decided whether I’d like to be an athletic trainer or a physical therapist, but I know that I’d be happy either way.”

With just two weeks remaining, Davis and the Panthers (2-6, 1-4 5-2A) look to end their conference schedule on a high note, beginning with this week’s matchup with Cutter Morning Star.

“All season long, Coach Starks has talked about effort,” Davis said. “He says that if we go into games with the right state of mind and give it our best effort, then the score will take care of itself. We just have to practice hard this week and take everything we’ve learned and apply it to the game on Friday.”

Off the field, Davis plays basketball and baseball at Bigelow. The senior is also a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, Gifted and Talented, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was selected to represent Bigelow High School at Arkansas Boys State this year. In his free time, Davis enjoys movies and trivia.

“I’m a big movie nerd,” Davis said. “Star Wars and The Dark Knight are some of my favorites. I’m the kind of person that can watch a movie over and over so I can quote every single line. I’m big on movie trivia and reading movie quotes online. Last year, Bigelow’s National Honor Society hosted a trivia night as a fundraiser. My team won first place.”

Davis gives back to his community through his church, Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Perryville.

“Church is a big part of my life,” Davis said. “I lead the music and am part of our youth group. Every fourth Sunday of the month, we sing at our local nursing home. I’m also the president of Youth Rally — where the youth of area churches get together to learn about the business of the church.”

Bigelow plays host to Cutter Morning Star on Friday, Oct. 28.