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The name’s the same, but his game is much different.

And, no, Renton High School football player Ernie Davis was not named after legendary Syracuse running back Ernie Davis, who was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961.

“I get that lot,” Davis said of the name comparison.

It’s understandable, especially with the impressive numbers he’s been putting up this season, including more than 1,500 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns.

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But Davis, just 5 feet 9 and 165 pounds, is the first to admit that his rushing style is much different from the “other” Ernie Davis, who was 6-2, 212 and nicknamed The Express.

“My game is more flashy and trying to make people miss,” Davis said. “His game (was) more run through people and more simple, like plant a foot and go.”

But this Ernie Davis, named after his father (who also was not named after that Ernie Davis), isn’t afraid of contact either.

“He’s a shifty, physical guy,” coach Donald Ponds said. “He is almost reckless. He’s very physical for his stature…. He can make you miss or he can run you over.”

Davis played strictly defense in the Rainier Beach junior football program for years before finally getting a chance to run the ball in eighth grade. After his family relocated to Renton, he said he was “too scared” to turn out for the high-school team as a freshman, but his father talked him into it the following year.

“He knew I had good potential,” Davis said.

He emerged as the No. 2 back behind senior Anthony Gold, then last season led the Indians in rushing and tackles.

When he’s not doing his now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t act on the football field, Davis loves performing magic tricks for friends. His coach calls him a quiet leader.

Davis, who is getting some looks from Simon Fraser, Portland State and Eastern Washington, has Renton (3-4, 2-2) in position to claim the Seamount League’s No. 2 berth to the 2A playoffs behind eighth-ranked Lindbergh.


• Issaquah quarterback Jack Neary went 30 for 41 for 413 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in Issaquah’s 41-18 win over Ballard last Friday, setting a school record for completions in a game. He’ll have a bigger test this week against Skyline’s defense.

• Bonney Lake has won just two games this season, but they’ve been ones that count in SPSL 3A. The Panthers are 2-1 in league play (2-5 overall) after last week’s 14-7 victory over Enumclaw (3-4, 1-2) and are in prime position to capture the league’s third and final playoff spot behind Peninsula (4-3, 3-0) and Lakes (3-4, 3-0). They take a shot at Lakes on Friday.

Seattle Times staff reporter Kaelyn Sayles contributed to this report.

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