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Cameron Smith

California team led by diminutive, inspirational star receiver

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Encino Crespi Carmelite (Calif.) High School's football team is putting together one of its best seasons in recent memory, yet one of the team's biggest contributors is the smallest member of its roster ... and any other roster, too.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News and a feature in Encino.Patch.com, Crespi's Michael Davison has made a big impact for the Celts both as a speedy wide receiver and a dangerous kick returner. That wouldn't be a huge surprise if it weren't for the fact that Davison stands 5-foot-4 on a very good day. Some have estimated that he's actually closer to an even 5 feet.

"Everyone has underestimated me, and people still do. Once they see me play, they change their minds," Davison told Encino.Patch.com. "I'll hear people say, 'Oh, look at him. He's so small.' Well, that boosts my confidence to prove to them that I can play this game."

That's right, one of the best receivers in the Los Angeles area -- he's the one wearing No. 1 in the highlight video above -- is a full three inches shorter than the NFL's greatest mighty mite, fellow California native Maurice Jones-Drew. Yet size hasn't kept Davison from keying Crespi's passing offense in recent weeks. On Friday, the diminutive receiver caught two touchdown passes against Woodland Hills Taft, not to mention Davison's four kick returns of 50 yards or more.

"We played our hearts out tonight," Davison told the Los Angeles Daily News after his team's win over Taft. "We knew we could beat this team, and we just kept our focus and played our hearts out."

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Most of the attention focused on Crespi's 5-1 start has shone a spotlight on quarterback Kenny Stenhouse, who has put up remarkable numbers. In Friday's win over Taft, Stenhouse set a school record with six touchdowns, and he's passed for 364 yards or more in three of his team's past four games.

Add in Devin Lucien, who starts at receiver across from Davison, and pulled in 188 yards and three touchdowns on Friday, and it's not hard to see why many are excited about Crespi's immediate future.

But coaches and teammates are often most impressed by Davison, who combines athleticism and a dogmatic work ethic to star at a level where few would have ever given him a chance. The tiny receiver has found ways to succeed, using his stature as a surprising advantage. One teammate told Encino.Patch.com that trying to predict where Davison will move is like trying to track a pinball.

"Mike is a hard-working young man who will always find a way to make a play," Crespi coach Jon Mack said. "Pound for pound, he's probably the strongest kid on the team."

And week after week, the Celts find themselves inspired by Davison, who amazes his teammates, coaches and fans by showing what he can do with God's gift of a small frame.

"We feed off his attitude about not being intimidated," Crespi tight end Tre Calahan told Encino.Patch.com. "We see how he's not intimidated, so there's no reason for us to be intimidated."

To top it off, his roster statistics are always good for a laugh in a happy postgame locker room, as the Times reported.

"Anyone really know [how] big he is?" [Crespi] Coach Jon Mack asked his assistant coaches.

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