by Bruce Strand, sports editor
Sometimes a good athlete in a good program has to wait until his senior year to shine. That was the case with Kyle Williams of Rogers, and the 5-foot-10, 185-pound fullback made sure he was ready when his chance came.
“Kyle’s defining characteristic is that he works hard,” said coach Marc Franz. “He dedicated himself to the weight room during the off-season and made himself into the physical player that he was this year.”
Williams pounded ahead for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns during Rogers’ 9-2 season, helping the Royals win conference and section crowns. He picked up steam and had his biggest games late in the season. A straight-ahead power runner, he got his yards on trap plays and belly plays.
“I was a third-string fullback last year,” said Williams, referring to Rogers’ state runner-up season. “But I knew I’d play a lot this year.”
Just as important to the Rogers offense was his blocking prowess.
“Kyle is one of the best blockers we have ever had at the RB position,” said Franz. “He is very physical and knowledgeable of his assignments.”
Williams said blocking seems to come natural for him. “I stay low, keep my feet moving and hit them under the pads, in the abdomen,” said Williams, who did a lot of open-field hitting, on the edges for quarterback Matt Weber’s runs and leading end sweeps for halfback Jack McGuire. Those are his two main year-round weightlifting partners, by the way.
Williams, one of Rogers’ co-captains, was a two-way starter for seven games, playing outside linebacker on most plays, making 49 tackles.
“After the Elk River game, I carried the ball a lot more, and didn’t play much defense,” said Williams.
After the 17-14 loss to the Elks in week seven, Williams rushed for 111 yards in 24 carries in a win over Cambridge-Isantii that clinched the Mississippi 8 title, then 127 yards in 22 carries (and three touchdowns) against Monticello in the section semifinals, then 167 in 10 carries against Delano in the section finals, and 67 in 11 totes in the state tournament loss to Rocori.
“Winning the section finals, that was the best,” said Williams, asked about career highlights. His career-high 167 yards helped the Royals win 29-14 at St. Cloud State for their third section title.
Williams is a football-only athlete, except for wrestling in ninth grade. He’d like to continue, depending on where he winds up in college. His brother Ryan plays at St. Thomas.
Franz described Williams as “a very humble, unassuming young man” and credited him with excellent leadership by his actions and work ethic.
THE WILLIAMS SCORECARD
Personal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents Ted and Traci; brothers Ryan, 19, and Luke, 7; sister Aiden, 4 … Sport: football … Academics: “B” average … College plans: undecided on college and major
Favorite stuff – Class: English literature … TV show: “American Horror Story” … Food: Taco Bell and Pizza Ranch far … Drink: Gatorade green … Reading: ESPN Magazine … Team: Ohio State football … Athlete: Adrian Peterson … Place he’d like to visit: Ireland