Wearing the wildly unfamiliar No. 82 jersey, Williams accounted for 268 yards of offense and four touchdowns as the Falcons routed Jacksonville Christian 33-0 in their home opener at Lentz Field.
Williams played the first two games on the road in a No. 2 jersey, but last year’s seniors were allowed to buy their home jerseys and No. 2 in maroon was gone. The new ones still haven’t come in.
“The number doesn’t make me; I make the number,” Williams said. “I just put on the jersey. I’m here to play football.”
Williams has worn a variety of numbers in his career and he could have had any when it came to finding one for the home opener, but one ultimately won out. And it was somewhat strange seeing a player wearing a number typically reserved for a receiver taking snaps and handoffs.
“I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I asked Coach and he said he’d find me something,” he said. “They told me go get 7, go get 25. I said, ‘No, coach, I’m going to be 82’. They were like, ‘Ew, 82.’ I was like, ‘Coach, I’m going to make 82.’
“They asked me who is 82 that you like? I said nobody. But I’m going to make it somebody.”
Williams rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries and completed 2 of 4 passes for 70 yards and another score. His scoring runs covered 2, 62 and 74 yards. His touchdown pass covered 38 yards to Alec McCormack. He also caught a two-point conversion pass.
His backfield mate, Walker Moore, rushed for 132 yards on 10 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown burst.
“We like it when both of them are having success, because when both of them are having success, then things are going well,” Donoho coach Shannon Felder said.
He added if Williams continues to have that kind of success “it might be a good idea” to keep him in No. 82.
JCA coach Tommy Miller said the number switch didn’t catch his team off guard; he knew Williams was No. 2 on the earlier tapes he’d seen. It was the speed that had the Thunder reaching.
“Speed always hurts us,” Miller said. “It hurt us against ASD badly and, of course, it hurt us tonight.”
Donoho was just as impressive defensively. George McMillan, who has always worn No. 11, had three of the Falcons’ four interceptions and the unit stopped the Thunder on fourth down inside the 20 three times, twice inside the 10.
“That’s what we aim for here,” said McMillan, who credited a strong rush from his defensive line for producing the picks. “We aim for the shutouts, just like in ’06 (when) they got that shutout record. At halftime we said they’re not going to score.
“That’s just how we were. If they get down in the red zone, we’re expecting to get a negative play. We’re expecting to stop them.”
The Thunder did amass 265 yards of total offense against the Falcons’ first defense, which played the whole game to develop chemistry, but did most of it in the second half — and through the air. Quarterback Will Warren passed for 214 yards — 160 in the second half. Daylon Brackett caught five passes for 135 yards.
“We did do better offensively,” Miller said. “We’re so inexperienced. The more experience we get the better and I think maybe we just settled down some and played a little better.”
Al Muskewitz is a sports writer for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.