By Pat Turner
Although strides were made the previous two years while working at defensive end and tackle, the Warren senior wasn’t satisfied.
Williams saw improvement as a sophomore and junior, but something inside told him better results could come.
Going into his senior year, Williams made a stronger commitment by placing a heavier emphasis on conditioning. He dropped 20 pounds and fared well during the offseason and spring training drills. The progress continued into the heat of the summer. He was a regular participant at Warren’s strength and conditioning drills. In addition, he worked at Sea World where walking around the park was part of his job duties.
Now, he’s seeing positive results.
Warren’s goal to claim one of District 28-6A’s four playoff spots looks promising as the Warriors registered a 4-1 (3-1 in District 28-6A) mark at the halfway point. Through it all, Williams has turned in major contributions with 29 tackles and three sacks.
“I’m feeling a lot better this year,” Williams said. “I wanted to make up for lost time, because I feel this should have happened this year. I am in better shape. Last year, I felt stronger, but I wasn’t in good enough shape to go a whole game. In the offseason, I took my conditioning a lot more seriously.”
Williams has all the tools to be a serious threat to opposing quarterbacks or anyone else roaming the backfield. Strength and experience are present. However, it’s his explosive tactics off the football that makes the package complete.
“He plays old-fashioned football,” Warren coach Jeff Robbins said. “He plays like your supposed to play. He’s one of the best defensive ends I have seen as a coach. He is fun to watch. He has it all and he works hard. He has the ability to dissect a play. He’s been that way since his sophomore year.”
Williams’ sophomore year was an eye-opening experience. He was going against players with more experience each week. At the same time, the defender had seven teammates going through the same thing. That proved to be an advantage as Williams and the other rookies grew up together during a memorable debut.
“I think that helped us all,” Williams said. “We leaned a lot. We grew together. We went to the playoffs that year. That was special for all of us.
“There were a few games I looked back and wondered what was I doing? I knew I needed to get stronger, because I was going against bigger guys. I knew I had to get better.”
Now, Williams is the stronger one with experience. And he’s happy to be part of a unit where solid effort is also coming from Josiah Gutierrez-Smith, Traquan Banks, Jeremy Martinez, David Randall, Tra’vanta Simien, Eli Huron and Aiava Lealaimatafao.
“Defense is always exciting to me,” Williams said. “I love to make big plays. I love to see my teammates make plays. We’re all on the same page and working hard. You have to always be thinking what the guy across you is going to do and try to win that one-on-one.”
Although the Warriors are winning, there’s more work to do solidify a spot in the post-season.
A big test comes this week as Warren faces Jay and its high-powered offense. After that, the Warriors have contests with Taft, Brandeis, Marshall and Clark.