Hereford senior Baylor Davis doesn’t shy away from contact, whether he’s charging through defensemen and scoring a goal on the lacrosse field or making tackles as a linebacker on the football team.
But just over a year ago, in a 9-0 victory over Perry Hall, Davis absorbed a brutal hit that knocked him out.
“I was dodging, took a shot and got hit across the chin after the shot,” Davis said. “I think on the video I was out before I hit the ground. My mom said they considered airlifting me, but I just went in an ambulance to shock trauma. I was unconscious.”
The concussion he suffered forced him to miss the next seven games, but he returned and scored a goal in an 8-7 loss to Catonsville in the Baltimore County championship game.
“I think I was out [of the hospital] that same day. I don’t really remember that whole kind of day, it was really a blur and the next couple of days after,” he said. “I was antsy just because I wanted to play.”
Davis wasn’t scared by the hit — he finished last season with 33 goals to help Hereford reach the Class 2A state semifinals and became an All-Baltimore County football player in the fall — but he understands the consequences of it. It was his second concussion after he suffered one in a recreation game against Perry Hall, and he knows another could be the end of his athletic career.
The fragility of life is something Davis is all too familiar with. On April 12, 2016, his father, Phil, died from cancer at the age of 49.
That summer, Davis became even more focused on sports, particularly lacrosse.
“It just turned into my escape,” he said. “[My dad] was never one of my coaches, but he was always on the sideline kind of walking me through what I was supposed to do.”
He switched positions, moving from close defense to attack. Alan Seider began coaching Davis at the club level and Davis found not just a trusted coach, but “a good constant” in his life.
“Baylor, of all the kids I’ve coached, he certainly is highly motivated,” Seider said. “He’s one of those kids that’s just very coachable. I’ve coached a lot of kids in the zone over the last 20-some years and he really is just one of those kids that is just passionate about the sport.”
Seider didn’t know Davis played close defense before he started coaching him, but he knew his attack skills were even better because of his willingness to absorb contact. Davis’ passion for the sport was clear.
“He has set a lot of bars for himself and he just gets there, quietly, doesn’t make a big show about it,” Seider said, noting how the left-handed Davis learned to play with his right hand. “He does the little things when nobody is looking. It’s easy to do the work when everybody is doing it there with you, but when you have to do it by yourself, I think that’s one of the things that separates you.”
Hereford coach Kyle Lippert has been watching Davis deliver complete performances all season for the Bulls (3-2). The senior is among the team’s scoring leaders with 16 goals and three assists.
“When he hasn’t been the leader in points in the game, he’s been at the top in terms of caused turnovers just on the riding side, so we are almost sometimes getting as much of a defensive effort out of him as we are offensive,” Lippert said.
Davis is one of Hereford’s co-captains, along with defenseman Ryder Walter, and both have committed to play lacrosse next year at Frostburg State University. Davis, who said he loves the mountains near campus, plans to study Wildlife and Fisheries.
He’s come a long way since 2020, when his freshman season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. He earned playing time on varsity during his shortened sophomore season, helping the Bulls win the Class 2A state championship over Kent Island. To Lippert, who took over in 2020, Davis’ potential was clear from the beginning.
“We had seen enough in the two weeks we had him his freshman year to know that he would be coming to varsity that year,” Lippert said. “But by the end of that season, when we got into the playoffs, he had gotten to the point where he was splitting time with a senior on the attack all the way through until the championship game, and then he just kind of took a stranglehold on the starting spot after that the last two years.”
While football gave Davis the chance to be “angry and physical” after his father’s death, lacrosse became his escape. Despite having a standout football career, his mind was made up.
“I had thought about it [playing football in college], but college lacrosse has always been my dream. Like, that’s where I knew my life was headed and that was just where I wanted to be,” he said.
Sports aren’t the only thing that motivates Davis. He is in the National Honor Society, and recently became an Eagle Scout.
“I’ve been involved in scouts since as soon as you could join in first grade,” Davis said. “It was something that my mom [Danielle] wanted me to do with my dad, and then when he passed, it was something that she picked up. She ran my Cub Scout pack, and it’s been something I have done since you could start doing it.”
To achieve his Eagle Scout status, Davis had to complete his Eagle Project, which he did by rebuilding some of the pig huts at the Whispering Rise Farm & Animal Sanctuary.
“It was actually my sister in Girl Scouts doing her silver award that brought us there,” said Davis, noting that more than 60 potbelly pigs are housed there. “She needed to do some service hours and work with a nonprofit organization and we just loved it so much we never stopped going, and then I did my Eagle Project there.”
Davis’ sister, Emerson, played field hockey as a junior for Hereford in the fall and he has a younger sister, Aliya, who plays lacrosse, field hockey and basketball.
“When we were little, my mom would have me and Emerson race up the stairs or race in the swimming pool,” Davis said. “I think that kind of turned me into kind of a competitive monster because everything I do is now a competition and I think for my sister it kind of went the other way. She likes competing, she’s just not as intense as I am.”