RA running back Elijah Davis named the 53rd annual Mr. Rebel

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

RESERVE – As a freshman, Elijah “Bill” Davis watched as only one senior from each class before him was selected to receive the Henry Donaldson Memorial Award — also known as Mr. Rebel. Davis was determined that, by the time his senior year rolled around, it would be him receiving that award.

That became reality when Davis was selected as the 53rd Mr. Rebel at Riverside Academy’s annual sports banquet on May 9 inside the school gym.

The Henry Donaldson Memorial Award honors senior football players who aren’t just the best on the team but are leaders on and off the field. The award is named after the late Henry Donaldson, who collapsed and died during a spring football practice in 1973.

Over the years, Davis has made numerous contributions to the athletics and academics program at Riverside. Davis was named All-District, District MVP, All-Metro, LFCA All State and LSWAA All State. As a running back in his senior football season, Davis rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He finished with more than 4,500 yards in his career as a Rebel. Davis played basketball and ran track while maintaining a 3.44 GPA throughout the four years. 

“First off, God blessed me with the ability to just play. My parents also helped get me to where I am today because I would not be here right now.” Davis said, “My running back coach, Coach Andre Washington, had a big impact on my football career from where I started as a freshman to where I am now.” 

“Winning the Mr. Rebel award puts a stamp on a wonderful high school playing career. Winning the award is a testament to the hard work and dedication he put into his craft,” Davis’ mother, Kameshia Davis said. “Honestly, the award was well deserved. When he started this journey five years ago, he made winning the award one of his goals, and he achieved that goal.” 

Davis feels like he was selected because of the characteristics he showed on and off the field as a player. He wanted to be a great role model and hoped his teammates would follow by example. Davis views this award as his way to say to himself that he made it happen and felt like all his hard work paid off.

Over the years, he has looked up to many great athletes, but his biggest influence has been LeBron James. 

He explained, “He is such a great person on and off the court and helps so many people that are less fortunate to have better lives. He knows what it’s like to overcome struggles.”

The recent graduate will now move on to play football for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on a full ride scholarship and will major in kinesiology. Davis said that he doesn’t put any pressure on himself going into playing at the collegiate level. He has an open mind knowing this is a new level and he isn’t in high school anymore. 

“I’m ready for any challenge that gets thrown my way,” Davis said.