TAMPA — Their friendship began on the first day of first grade — show-and-tell time at the Tampa Downtown Partnership School.
Quentin Williams brought in a magazine about football. Details are sketchy 10 years later, but Williams remembers Deion Sanders was on the cover.
"I liked the magazine," Andre Davis said. "I asked if I could see it …"
"…And we've been friends ever since," Williams finished the sentence.
Fast forward a decade later, and Williams, Jefferson's starting quarterback, and Davis, his favorite receiving target, now form arguably the bay area's top offensive pair.
Williams, who leads Tampa Bay with 1,256 passing yards, enters this week's Class 3A, District 8 game at Lakewood with a county-leading 13 touchdown passes. Ten of those have been to the 6-foot-3 Davis, the bay area's touchdown receptions leader.
"Quentin knows where he's going to be at all times," Jefferson coach Mike Fenton said. "Throwing the football back and forth for all those years, it has to help. They're like brothers. They get on each other, they rib each other, just like brothers."
And when Williams rolls out of the pocket, looks downfield and heaves a pass 40 yards into Davis' hands, you can almost see years of togetherness at work.
"We have that chemistry from playing around in the backyard all those years, chasing each other," Williams said. "I go to his house. He comes to my house."
Off the field, they're side by side. Saturdays they usually go to Skyway Park to watch the Tampa Bay Youth Football League games (Williams played for the Jaguars, Davis the Packers). They'll spend hours on the computer watching YouTube videos of their favorite players (Davis' is Randy Moss, Williams prefers Drew Brees).
"We do everything together," Williams said. "Talk about girls, everything."
In Jefferson's opener against Hillsborough, Williams plowed through the line for the winning two-point conversion. Both agree that 16-15 win was the best they've shared. After the game, the juniors collapsed into each others arms crying, dedicating the win to former Dragons linebacker C.J. Mills.
Mills, who was shot and killed two years ago, was a big brother to both. He used to attend their TBYFL games and tell them how great it would be when they joined him at Jefferson.
This week, they can win an even bigger game, one that almost surely will punch their ticket to the playoffs and maybe a district championship if they combine it with a home win over Spoto on Oct. 23.
"We've been looking forward to it all week," Davis said. "It's our first district game. Our first playoff game basically."
They're on the same page.
"It's a playoff game," Williams said. "We've got to go in there focused. We're going into a hostile environment so we've got to prove to the state that we ain't no joke this year."
The biggest of the big games
While tonight's prep football slate is chock full of pivotal district contests, two games — Jefferson-Lakewood and Boca Ciega-Sickles — are of particular significance. Here's why:
The must-win game
For all intents, Sickles' 4A-10 showdown with Boca Ciega is a playoff game for the Gryphons, 0-1 in this four-team district. If they lose tonight and Largo defeats Leto as expected, Bogie and Largo both would have wins over Leto and Sickles, clinching the district's two playoff spots. If Sickles prevails, the district is still anyone's to win.
The really-need-this-one game
For all intents, we can divide Class 3A, District 8 in half. Three teams — Blake, Osceola and Dixie Hollins — are winless, making it essentially a three-team race among Jefferson, Lakewood and Spoto. Should the Dragons lose tonight at Lakewood, they're not out of it , but almost certainly would have to defeat the Spartans at home in two weeks to keep their playoff hopes alive.