May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Western’s Dan Davidson looks forward to coaching North in all-star football game

Dan Davidson will be the North coach for the North-South game. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

Western High football coach Dan Davidson is looking forward to coaching the North team, which will have three of his players in the Orange County Classic North-South Classic on Saturday, Jan. 25 at Orange Coast College.

Western players Caine Savage, Cassius Savage and Danny Walters will be among the players on the North team, Davidson said.

“I was so grateful and honored to be named the North all-star coach for this year,” Davidson said. “It was always a goal to coach in this fantastic event. It also rewards the hard work and passion that my coaching staff puts into each and every season. So truly the honor is for both my staff as well as myself. Both of my sons played in this game and now my son Jeremy who is our defensive coordinator gets to coach in the event as well. It’s such a special feeling as his father seeing his growth each year.”

Caine Savage was named first team all-county by the Orange County Register. He had more than 290 receptions in his career as well as 11 career interceptions and 58 career touchdowns and is headed to University of Utah to play football in the fall.

Cassius Savage was a second team all-county player. He had 177 career receptions, 10 interceptions and 40 touchdowns and will be attending San Diego State University in the fall, Davidson noted.

Walters was an All-CIF defensive linemen, linemen of the year in The Pac 4, according to Davidson. “He tied the season sack record and broke the school career sack record with 32 career sacks. He has not decided on his college choice yet,” Davidson said.

“To be able to coach these young men in their last high school game is so emotional for me,” Davidson said. “We have done so much together on the transformation of our program. I always give credit to the John Ojelabi and Cole Howard class for setting the foundation. To follow up with Jacob Domino, James Mendoza and Anthony Munoz group that lead us to a CIF championship…not to mention, Jacob and Anthony playing in this game last year.

“We followed up that run with a 9-1 season and coaching in their last game, wow it’s almost breathtaking. The support we get from our administration, athletic eirectors, ASB, cheerleaders and the rest of our faculty and student body is so inspirational. You really can’t stop working so hard because you do not want to let any of them down.” 

It will be Davidson’s first time coaching in the Orange County all-star game.

“My staff and I did coach the 605 All-Star Game which puts the Orange County team vs. the Los Angeles County team,” he said. “We are hoping that experience will help us improve the things we are doing for this long traditional game. Having the Chargers, Costa Mesa United And other supportive groups put on such an amazing event for the 61st season, makes you want to put in that extra effort to make this a special show. 

“Also, coaching against Chad Johnson from Mission Viejo (the South coach)_ is outstanding. I respect him as a person and his coaching ability speaks for itself. These things are so much more meaningful when you enjoy the competition with one another.”

Davidson also previewed what is in store for the North team.

“To prepare for this game we have put a plan in place to install the offense in phases. We like to throw the ball around anyways, but preparation for the screen game, RPO’s and timing of plays takes a little more concentrated effort,” he said.

“That’s what makes having Cade McConnell from Los Alamitos and Luke Duxbury from Sunny Hills so important. Both players come from outstanding programs and truly the top coaches in the County year in and year out in Ray Fenton from Los Alamitos and Pete Karavedas from Sunny Hills who is the current coach of the year in Orange County. 

“Preparing for an all-star event is different in many aspects, but at the end of the day you have to prepare your football team to play a game. So my staff and I will map out all parts of the game to install everything and then focus on the execution of each play and phase of the game.”

The full rosters are expected to be announced soon.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;