AVON — It was not easy for Johnny Williams III playing football last season for the Riverside High School varsity football team.
Williams describes himself as a very competitive person. Last season, he was just a freshman. He knew he was not big or strong enough to play varsity football. Still, it was not a lot of fun for him watching the games from the sidelines.
Which is why Johnny dedicated himself this offseason to making himself a varsity-level football player. Johnny has been hitting the weights for months, building his strength and stamina for his sophomore season.
Johnny’s hard work ethic did not go unnoticed by his teammates and his coaches. Riverside first-year head coach Jim Risen has been so impressed with Johnny, in fact, that he has named him the starting quarterback for his team.
“Johnny has natural leadership abilities with his poise, confidence and control of the pulse of the offense,” Risen said. “He is a student of the game and he desires to make sure things happen with smoothness and creativity. I believe he will be able to make our offense and team great as he becomes more familiar with our playbook and the team’s abilities.”
Johnny said he is up to the challenge of leading his team which begins its season Aug. 23 on the road against St. Joseph Catholic School. However, he said he knows the Bulldogs will not be able to go far unless all his teammates buy into the system.
Johnny said wide receivers like Demarius Pam, Dawson Graham and Carson Graham have helped him mature as a quarterback. He also credits linemen like Jay Humphrey, Justin Irion and Bryan Weeks at making him comfortable behind center.
As a junior high school player, Johnny rushed for more than 1,000 yards. But, at the varsity level he said he will have to be more of a balanced quarterback in order to be successful.
“Playing quarterback is very hard because you only have three seconds in the backfield. When that three seconds is up and no one is open, you have to take off down the field,” Johnny said. “But, I am confident in my abilities and my teammates. We are all working hard to be successful, and we are going to begin each game believing that we can win.”