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Williams hitting his stride in West Hall backfield
Junior RB a major cog in program's record-setting offense
West Hall running back Kwon Williams slips out of Lumpkin County Bradley Womack's grasp during Friday's region title faceoff between West Hall and Lumpkin County at West Hall Stadium in Oakwood. - photo by Erin O. Smith

East Hall’s Bryan Gray on Kwon:

He does a very good job when he plants. When he makes a move and he has very good power coming off of his push leg, it allows him to break tackles and break initial arm tackles, especially in the second level area. He has a good body lean and explodes off that to finish breaking the tackle.

Chestatee’s Bill Forman on Kwon:

He’s a competitor, relentless and his effort in fourth quarter is just as strong as his effort in the first quarter. He’s got the skill set that as a coach is God-given. He’s got that extra gear that most athletes don’t have. His explosiveness of when he sets the foot in the ground, he redirects very well.

All he needed was a first down, maybe a few yards after the tackle, according to head coach Tony Lotti.

Except the tackle never came.

With West Hall already up 35-0 late in the third quarter last month against Fannin County, junior running back Kwon Williams lined up on his own 5-yard line next to quarterback Jacob Satterfield, patiently waiting for the right hole to open up behind offensive linemen Blaine Satterfield and Ty Statham.

Seconds later, it was off to the races. Ninety-five yards later, Blaine Satterfield and Ty Statham joined him in the celebrations.

“I got behind (Statham) and it was just a footrace between me and them after that,” Williams said.

That’s been a constant refrain for the Spartans (9-1, Region 7-AAA Champions), who have watched Williams (94 carries for 938 yards) run for 14 touchdowns, throw for a score, and bring back an interception 66 yards in the opening game of the season.

With all the notoriety surrounding the impressive junior, nine teams have tried and failed to effectively stop Williams’ running game, which has improved nearly every week leading up to last week’s region championship victory over Lumpkin County.

He’s played in every game this season except West Hall’s lone loss against Class AAAA power North Oconee back in late September. Racking up five games of 100 yards or more, including four in the last five wins, Williams has become the lynchpin in a record-setting offense set for Friday’s first-round playoff game against Oconee County.

Even his own coaches have trouble finding ways to slow him down.

“It’s what keeps our motor going as coaches to see what you can do to put against him,” Lotti said after practice on Tuesday. “People have been scheming against him and they’ll make plays knowing he’s there, they’ll be looking to stop him.”

Considering the dedication Williams puts into his runs, it’ll be a hard sell for anyone to stop Williams when he’s on his game.

STEPPING TO THE LINE: The process starts slow for Williams, who typically lines up beside or behind his quarterback, Jacob Satterfield, even on designed pass plays. The focus, he says, is not on the cornerbacks in the background, but how he can affect his own play.

“I’m not looking at the defense until right before the ball snaps,” he said. “Wherever the guard is making his block, I’m pulling for him. I’ve got confidence that my guys are going to make their blocks.”

That’s where Ty Statham, who has been playing football with Williams since the age of 7, comes in. The senior said he talks with Williams and fellow running back Tyquan Statham after almost every play, tweaking what needs improvement.

SURE HANDS: Once Williams has the ball in his hands, it’s guaranteed to stay there.

The junior has never fumbled on a run in his high school career and only committed his first career fumble after a catch in last week’s 35-0 rout of Lumpkin County. He keeps his grip “high and tight” on the football once he gets enough room past the linebackers, almost as high as his chin when he’s breaking tackles.

Williams (6-feet, 186 pounds) said the team “praises” squats in the weight room, a key reason to how he maintains his measured center of gravity among the linebackers.

It makes Jacob Satterfield’s job a lot easier as a quarterback.

“A lot of times, we try to get our fakes out early,” he said. “And if the defense is biting, it’s six (points) right there, You’ve just got to hand it to him and it’s over.”

RUNNING DOWNHILL: Williams credits his ability to outrun an oncoming tackler to his track experience at West Hall, while simultaneously following his blockers downfield. He’s been a regular on the track since sixth grade and has ran the 4x100, 4x200 and triple jump.

Put a football in his hand, and like Williams said, it’s off to the races. Williams cut his 200 meter dash time down by two-tenths of a second coming off of his freshman year of offseason training, and found that the work helped his ability to make cuts up the field.

“My balance has come up a lot,” he said. “It’s a lot of footwork, so every time I cut, I make sure my feet are under me. It’s just come along to me as I play.”

INTO THE END ZONE: Lotti’s offense never wants to go down on a “shoelace tackle.” Luckily for Williams, his vision is usually four or five paces ahead of his oppositions’ tackles anyway.

Senior tight end Jacob Taylor is usually tasked with providing the tackles to keep Williams clean as he makes his run past the secondary. He said the running backs have progressed to reading his blocks so well, he always feels confident they’ll be able to score.

“Whenever you have someone behind you who reads blocks like Kwon does, we have a lot going for us,” he said.

So how do you stop someone like Kwon Williams, who has received offers from N.C. State, Vanderbilt, Georgia State and Cincinnati?

“You can’t,” Taylor said, “They’re just outstanding backs, him and Tyquan. They’ll beat anything.”

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