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Stafford, Davis to meet for first time since epic prep battle

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Allen Park — For the first time since 2005, when both were baby-faced high-schoolers, Matthew Stafford and Cody Davis could be set to square off

The Lions starting quarterback and the Los Angeles Rams backup safety last met on the field in their native Texas in a shootout that MaxPreps calls one of the best high school games of the 2000s.

Stafford was a senior at Highland Park, and led his team past Davis, a sophomore, and his Stephenville team, 41-38, en route to a state championship the next week.

But not before Davis intercepted Stafford twice, including once late in the game that looked like it would spoil Highland Park's perfect season.

"I didn't think I threw any picks in that game," Stafford said Wednesday, with a smile. "We won that game. He's maybe feeling tough about that loss still, I don't know. It's a long time ago.

"But we went on to play in the state championship the next week, and win it. I guess we got the better end of that one."

It's true, to be sure.

Still, Davis can't help but reflect fondly on the game, in which he also had a fumble recovery.

In an interview with ESPN this week, Davis said he remembered his coach pulling him aside after the game.

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"He just told me, 'Man, that dude's going to be in the league someday,'" Davis told ESPN. "Sure enough, here we are, I guess.

"Maybe I'll say 'hi' to him before the game, see if he remembers."

The Rams visit the Lions for a 1 p.m. Sunday game at Ford Field (Fox/WJR).

And Davis, who went undrafted in 2013 after his college career at Texas Tech, could see some action in the game, with starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson not expected to play because of a right ankle injury.

Back to that high-school showdown in 2015: According to the MaxPreps recap of the game, played in front of more than 20,000 fans, Davis intercepted Stafford with 4:12 left in the game, seemingly securing the victory for Stephenville. But Highland Park picked off a pass two plays later, and Stafford led a winning drive that ended with a touchdown pass with 37.7 seconds left. Stafford was 21-for-29 for 336 yards in the game.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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