by Duane Cochran for FightingFalcons.com
BOWIE, Md. – Fairmont State football fans were treated to a welcome sight Saturday afternoon at Bulldogs Stadium in the Falcons' road game against Bowie State.
That's because No. 5 Garrett Davis was back in uniform and back on the field for the Falcons for the first time this season.
The first-team All-WVIAC middle linebacker and third-leading tackler in the league last fall missed Fairmont's first two games this year with a badly broken pinkie finger.
Despite practicing in just shorts and shoulder pads this past week, Davis didn't miss a beat when he got back on the field Saturday in full gear. He finished with a game-high nine tackles, including four solo stops.
“It was exciting for me to be back out there playing,” said Davis, who continues to be evaluated on a weekly basis because of the nature of the break in his finger. “Sitting out makes you want to be back out there that much more. When you have something little like I have restricting you from being out there it hurts knowing you can't be out there helping your teammates out.
“They left the decision up to me this week as to whether or not I wanted to play. That was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I couldn't wait to be back out there. Even though we came up a little short and didn't win, it felt really good for me personally to be back on the field.”
In essence Davis played Saturday almost one-handed. His hand with the broken finger was heavily wrapped and taped and it cost the normally sure-handed youngster an interception at a critical point in the fourth quarter which would have ended a Bowie State scoring drive inside the Falcons' 20.
“It hurts a little bit not having full use of that hand,” said Davis. “It's tough to grab people and obviously catching the ball is difficult with one hand. I really wasn't used to it early in the game, but by the end of it I felt a lot more comfortable dealing with it.
“I'll get evaluated by doctors again this week and we'll see what happens. Hopefully I'll be out there and ready to go.”
Seniors Ryland Newman and Matt Wilmer are two of the most exciting and dangerous Falcons when the football is in their hands.
Last week Wilmer, a receiver from Keyser, returned a kickoff an NCAA record-tying 100 yards for a touchdown against Glenville State. For his career, Wilmer has returned two punts for touchdowns, one kickoff and has six TD receptions.
Saturday in the FSU's 24-17 overtime loss to Bowie State Newman, a cornerback from Ranson, added to his impressive repertoire of returns when he scooped up a blocked field goal and raced 67 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 10-0 lead late in the third quarter.
The return for a score was the sixth of his career. The former point guard on Fairmont State's basketball team has also brought back three interceptions and a pair of punts for touchdowns since joining the football team in 2009.
“Coach always preaches that big-time players make big-time plays in crucial situations and that's always stuck with me,” said Newman. “I just feel like anytime I have the opportunity to make a play to help this team I'm going to try as hard as I can to do it.”
Get That Ground Game Going
Daniel Monroe cracked the 100-yard mark on the ground for the first time this season with 112 yards rushing against Bowie State. However, Fairmont State has not scored a rushing touchdown yet this season. Last year, FSU averaged 30 points per game and was third in the league in rushing touchdowns with 24.
Fairmont State will open its home schedule this Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m., when West Liberty University (2-1, 1-0 WVIAC) invades Duvall-Rosier Field.