Hampered somewhat this fall by a painful foot condition and playing the understated position of fullback, Quince Orchard High School senior Tyrell Williams entered Friday night's 4A state final at M&T Bank Stadium with a somewhat cloudy outlook on his future in football.
With a sterling performance against arguably one of the best defenses in the state in Henry A. Wise, Williams did all he could to clear up that situation in Quince Orchard's 12-7 loss to the Pumas (14-0) as he rushed for a game-high 187 yards on 19 carries in what was the final game of his high school career that included being named second team All-Gazette a year ago.
“We were just wearing them down and my line gave me some great holes and I just had to break a couple of tackles,” said Williams, who drew the admiration of Wise safety Marcus Allen, who asked a Cougars cheerleader to pass along compliments to the veteran running back following Friday's contest. “I just had to do my job after they did their job.”
After a fruitless first quarter that spilled into the second quarter, Williams helped spark Quince Orchard's lone touchdown drive with a 37-yard scamper right up the middle that he capped by carrying a Wise defensive back some five yards or more to the Pumas 11-yard line.
He then broke a 7-yard run on third and seven to set up D'Andre Johnson's 1-yard scoring dive for a 7-6 lead with 1:04 left in the first half.
“There wasn't really a change,” Williams said. “I believe those first couple of drives were three and out, it just wasn't all 11 players working together. As time progressed, we started to calm down, to get out blocks, get our reads and get more efficient.”
Williams broke free for a 55-yard run early in the third quarter to take the ball to the Wise 30-yard line, but the drive eventually stalled on the 8-yard line as quarterback Matt Choi was stopped a yard short on fourth down and three yards to go.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound battering ram, who has drawn interest from Duke (N.C.), Maryland and Virginia according to rivals.yahoo.com, added a 36-yard run in the fourth quarter to once again place the ball deep into Wise territory, but that drive ended on an errant field goal attempt with 5:44 left in the game.
“He's a great player,” Cougars coach Dave Mencarini said. “He was a great player for us for three years. We're certainly going to miss his production and his character, a first class young man.”
Williams, despite being hampered by a condition that causes great pain in the ball of his foot, finished with 866 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He had 14 touchdowns overall for the season, tying him with Choi for tops on the team.