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There’s no secret about the catalyst for the 2011 Lancaster High School football team.
Foes know it, fans know it and so do the Bruins’ coaches.
“So goes Shaq Williams, so goes the Lancaster Bruins,” LHS head coach Bennie McMurray said of the Bruins’ senior quarterback.
“That’s true,” said Bruins’ offensive line coach Joe Watson. “As he goes, so do we this season.”
Williams went off last Friday night, accounting for 385 yards total offense, including 133 on the ground and four scores in Lancaster’s 48-7 road win over county rival Andrew Jackson High.
“He had a great Friday night last week,” Watson said.
Williams’ play is nothing shocking. A year ago, he had 1,713 total yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns in earning all-region, all-county honors and the Bruins’ Offensive MVP.
This season, Williams, in his third season as a LHS starter, second under center, is hoping to produce better numbers and more wins for the Bruins, 4-7 last fall.
“Shaq put in a lot of time over the summer in 7-on-7 games and working in the weight room,” McMurray said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and effort on his part. He’s made the commitment to improve and be at his best.”
Watson said Williams has used his experience to make progress.
“He’s matured a lot and understands the system better,” Watson said. “I think Shaq knows this is his last time around and he’s making the most of it.”
Williams said he relishes the role of taking control and guiding the team.
“If I’m on, I know the offense has a better chance to perform,” Williams said. “I love the role. You know you’re going to make plays, some bad, but you got to go with it. Being at quarterback, it starts with me and goes through me.”
Over the summer, when Williams wasn’t involved in 7-on-7 sessions, or in the weight room, he along with his father, former Lewisville High standout Malcolm Williams, and Bruins senior teammate Roy Watts, could be found at the Rice Athletic Complex working for the 2011 season.
“I used that time to get stronger and build endurance,” he said. “I also worked on my footwork to get quicker.”
Williams put in the time to prepare for this season.
“My role is to be a better quarterback, running and passing,” he said. “I want to be better all-around running and passing. I also want to be a vocal leader and take charge.”
Watson said Williams has taken control in that role.
“Our players have a lot of confidence in him,” Watson said. “His maturity is showing. He’s doing a good job of seeing pressure and making better decisions because of his experience. A year ago, he would just pull the ball down and run, but now he’s waiting for the play to develop and find his receivers.”
Williams hopes to continue his success tonight when LHS faces Chester.
“It think it will be tough,” Williams said. “We have to execute and cut down our penalties and turnovers. To do that, you just have to concentrate a little harder and on a big play, if the runner gets by you, don’t worry about blocking because the defender probably won’t catch him.”
When the Lancaster football season is complete, Williams will head to basketball as a key returnee at guard on the Bruins’ 19-7 hoops squad.
He said he plans to run track in the spring.
In May, he will graduate and then head for college.
“I’m going to college,” Williams said. “If it’s to play football, I’m going to give 100 percent. If it’s meant to be, it will be, but whatever I’m going to college.”
That’s in the future, but his focus now is on LHS’s season.
“We can do something,” he said. “We just have to stay together and take one game at a time.
“Anything can happen on a football field.”