NSU Football: Davis brings end to touchdown drought in style

It took Akile Davis one game in a Northwestern State football uniform to surpass his reception total in four years at BYU.

The road to his first collegiate touchdown catch was three weeks longer, and it marked an odyssey that spanned more than 1,000 days between in-game visits to the end zone.

Davis put an end to his scoreless drought at Houston Baptist this past Saturday, hauling in a pair of scores from quarterback Shelton Eppler.

“I was really excited,” said Davis, who finished with three catches for a team-leading 68 yards. “There was a lot of emotion. At my previous school, I was there four years and never caught a touchdown, so it felt really good. I wish we had come out with the win. I would rather have no touchdowns and a win.”

Davis, who came to Northwestern State as a graduate transfer in the summer, ranks second on the team in receiving yards (187) and touchdown catches (2) and third in receptions (14).

He credited the culture around the Demons program with helping him assimilate quickly after his July arrival, which brought him much closer to his hometown of DeSoto, Texas than he was in Provo, Utah.

The decision to play roughly a four-hour drive from home paid off this past Saturday.

“It felt good coming back close to home,” Davis said. “My parents and everybody came to the Houston Baptist game. Being in Utah, they were able to make about one game a year. It’s great knowing if I need anything, they’re there.”

FATHER VS. SON: Second-year Northwestern State head coach Brad Laird knows about coaching alongside his father.

Laird coached under his late father, former NSU assistant coach Billy, at Nashville (Arkansas) High School, so he has an appreciation for what Demons quarterback coach Anthony Scelfo faces Saturday when Northwestern State faces Southeastern Louisiana, coached by Frank Scelfo, Anthony’s father.

The Scelfos, who coached together at UTSA for two seasons before Anthony came to Northwestern State and Frank took the Southeastern Louisiana head coaching position prior to the 2018 season, meet for the second time at 6:07 p.m. at Turpin Stadium. Southeastern Louisiana held off Northwestern State, 24-17, a season ago in Hammond in the first meeting between the Scelfos.

“To have the opportunity to coach with your dad or coach against him, he’s had the opportunity to do both,” Laird said. “You have the opportunity as a son to develop under your father in more ways than one – one how you were brought up and, two, in your professional career. Professional is the best way to describe both of them. What Anthony gets is very honest from Frank.”

Although the Scelfos are on opposing sidelines, their relationship reminds Laird of the one he shared with his father.

“The time that Anthony and Frank had, you can’t get that back,” Laird said. “There’s always a lot of things you share during your childhood, but from a professional standpoint, it brings a whole new perspective.”