Saturday, October 01, 2005

Williams finds Red & Black needs him

Ex-Watertown High player finally joins team in time to boost injury-plagued secondary
By Matt Cordova
Times Sportswriter
Saturday, October 01, 2005

Brian Williams had his reasons for not joining the Watertown Red and Black until this summer. He finally ran out of them.

Williams, a graduate of Watertown High School, became a member of the Red and Black just prior to a game against the Montreal Titans on Aug. 13.

He left the area and lived in Connecticut for several years and when he returned to the north country, Williams wanted to wait until he was in good enough physical shape to play competitive football again. He hadn't played since 1996, when he made the varsity team as a freshman at Cortland State.

Also, he hadn't heard the best things about the Empire Football League. As far as he knew, the there were too many dirty players in the EFL and what he had been told about the Red and Black wasn't terribly positive, either. Fortunately for the Red and Black, Williams decided to check things out for himself.

"It's not dirty and this organization really cares about team," Williams said following Thursday's practice.

As an integral part of a revamped Red and Black secondary, the former Cyclones standout's has proven invaluable. Williams has intercepted a pass in all three home games since he joined the team, which is set to play today in a first-round playoff game against St. Lawrence Valley at the Duffy Fairgrounds. During last week's victory over the Scranton Eagles, Williams returned a pick 47 yards to set up a key touchdown.

While following the team via media reports, Williams quickly became aware that Watertown's pass defense was in desperate need of rescue. He approached head coach George Ashcraft and inquired about a tryout. Ashcraft obliged and his team hasn't lost since Williams was issued equipment and a jersey.

"I knew secondary was a big factor. I didn't expect to help out so much, but I was hopeful," said Williams, who has three interceptions in five games played.

Sure, Williams isn't the only reason the Red and Black was able to complete the EFL schedule with an 8-2 record. He has emerged, however, as one of the main reasons Watertown has enjoyed a six-game win streak.

"Brian's doing a great job," Ashcraft said.

With newcomer Truth Napier, veteran Lamont Lane and Williams patrolling the secondary, Watertown now boasts one of the most athletic groups of defenders in the EFL. The Red and Black has forced 11 interceptions during the current win streak. Defensive backs get a notch in the statistics, but the forced turnovers can be credited to the whole defensive unit.

"We're applying pressure to the quarterbacks, they don't have time and we're forcing bad throws," Lane said.

After losing Jon Fisher to a broken leg, the emergence of Williams, Napier and the rest of the new defensive backs has proven vital.

"They came and filled in nicely. We know if we get hurt the new guys can do the job," Lane said. "All these guys make an impact. You can never have enough DBs."

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