By John DeCoste
When asked to compare his two favourite sports, Cameron (Cam) Davidson says there’s no comparison.
“I like hockey, but I love football.”
Davidson, a Grade 12 student at Horton High School, also plays hockey for Horton and does track and field in season.
His football career began at age nine, when he suited up for the Valley Bulldogs’ mite program, then brand new. He progressed though atom, peewee and finally bantam levels, then moved on to Horton, where he has played the last three seasons.
Asked what he loves about football, he says, “I don’t really know what it is. I get an adrenalin rush every time I step on the field, and every time I carry the ball. It just feels right.”
Though he has played slotback and “caught the ball out of the backfield,” Davidson has had his greatest success running the ball, both from scrimmage and returning kicks.
He completed his high school football career as the holder of three Horton team records – most touchdowns in a season with 22 – 15 rushing, three receiving and four on kick returns – as well as the most all-purpose yards in a season (2,183) and in a career (5,011).
He had the best year of his three at Horton this past season, which included the 22 touchdowns and 2,183 all-purpose yards. In one game, a 21-21 tie against Auburn Drive, Davidson rushed 34 times for 310 yards and two touchdowns.
Moreover, he has helped the Griffins to a good deal of success.
“We’ve gone 18-7-2 the last three years,” as well as making it to the Tier 1 playoffs and, in 2011, playing in the provincial Tier 1 final.
Davidson is known to his coaches and teammates for his work ethic, and his preparation for games. He has “worked really hard” to make himself a better player, including taking strength training with Elliott Richardson at Acadia.
It’s made a difference.
“I felt I’d have a pretty good year (in 2013),” he says, “but how much I improved surprised even me.”
Looking towards the future
As his high school graduation draws closer, Davidson finds himself with a decision to make.
“I’m not sure about my future,” he says. “I’d like to play CIS (university) football…I’d like to not only make it, but make an impact.”
At 5’9”, 180 pounds, he is a bit small, but he is determined.
“If I could put on 10 more pounds, and the extra strength to go along with it, I’d be happy,” he said.
After putting out feelers and being contacted by several schools, Cam has narrowed his choice down to two – the University of Toronto and Acadia.
He and Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins have talked, he said, “but we haven’t had a serious conversation yet.” He has also been talking back and forth with U. of T. offensive co-ordinator and recruiting co-ordinator (and former Acadia player) Tom Flaxman.
“It’s been good. We’ve called a lot. It’s a great school,” he said of Toronto. “I can see myself being a good fit for their program.”
On the other hand, he feels some loyalty to Acadia.
“You come to Acadia games as a kid. Your parents tell you, ‘you may get to play there someday’. It’s crazy to think it might end up being a reality, maybe even as early as next season,” he said.
Davidson has also talked to other schools, including Western and Guelph, “but nothing sparked my interest like Toronto and Acadia.”
Both schools also have their draws academically, though for different reasons.
“If I went to Toronto, I’d take sports journalism in Scarborough. If I went to Acadia, I’d probably do kinesiology,” he said, adding that he would be happy with either of those choices.
Horton close to his heart
Asked what he will remember most about his Horton career, Davidson cited “the support and encouragement I’ve always received from Coach (Alec) Hyndman.
The support, and the opportunities, he’s given me have been phenomenal. I wouldn’t be anywhere without him.”
Hyndman never coached Davidson in the minor program, but he’s the only coach that Davidson had while at Horton.
“He’s a good coach, and he doesn’t make mistakes. The team’s record reflects that. He doesn’t hesitate to tell you when you’ve done something wrong, but he also brings an element of fun to the game,” he said.
“Considering how young the program is, the success we’ve had is really special.”
Along with his time at Horton, Davidson has also been a fixture on provincial teams, playing at the U-15, U-16 and U-18 levels the past four years and representing Nova Scotia at the 2013 Football Canada Cup.
“That’s helped as well. They always have such good coaching, and the chance to play with and against that level of player is something you wouldn’t get anywhere else,” he said.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play pro football. As a kid, I played for fun, but as I got older, I started believing I could play university football or even higher than that. I’ve always worked hard toward that dream. Nothing is easy, but I’m never been afraid of hard work. Not at all.”
If it turned out that way, he would be up to playing receiver or some other position, he added. He has even played a little defence, though he admits, “it’s grueling to play both ways for 60 minutes. I admire those who can do it and do it well.”
Given the choice, though, offence would still be his top pick.