When the Timber Creek High School football team went undefeated season on its way to the 2011 South Jersey Group 3 championship, it was largely due to the contributions of senior quarterback Calvin Lowe.
Chargers head coach Rob Hinson often labeled Lowe as the most undervalued player on his team, because even though there were a host of players signed to play Division I football, it was Lowe who made everything flow in harmony. He led on the field and off of it, coming up with some of the best games of his career during the Chargers’ playoff run.
With Lowe graduating in June, it should not have been all that surprising that, even with one of the most talented rosters in South Jersey, Timber Creek experienced a few hiccups in the first month of the 2012 season.
Replacing a player as valuable as Lowe was not going to happen overnight, after all. Jagger Green and Miles Nash started the season rotating as the team's quarterback, with junior Dan Williams also factoring in the mix from time to time.
All three showed flashes, but things weren't quite right for a good portion of the year as the Chargers opened a disappointing 2-2.
Williams started getting more reps as the season progressed. Eventually, Williams—who entered the preseason No. 3 on the depth chart—grabbed a firm hold on the quarterback position at the tail end of the regular season, giving the team a clear signal caller for its postseason run.
All Williams did with the opportunity was throw for 10 touchdowns and run for another during Timber Creek’s three-game run through the Group 4 playoffs. His shining performance came in Saturday's championship win when he threw for 256 yards and five touchdowns.
“It’s just a dream come true,” said Williams.
“We just started clicking (when Dan took over),” running back Zaire Williams said. “He made sure we took extra reps at practice even when everyone would think it’s time to go home. He was making sure everyone was out here working hard. Even though we wanted to go home, he was out here pushing and pushing, and we started clicking.”
Hinson described Dan Williams’ effort as nothing short of amazing. He said he saw the talent in the junior throughout the season and that his maturation was the biggest reason the Chargers were able to repeat as champions.
“He really kind of stabilized us,” Hinson said. “Having a guy who can pull the trigger with the poise that he demonstrated and the smarts that he has, he really stabilized everything and the kids started to believe in him. If they didn’t get the ball or did get the ball, it didn’t matter to them because they knew Danny was scanning the field and that eventually they were going to get that turn. That’s the kind of quarterback he is.”
The junior quarterback remains humble about his emergence on the South Jersey football scene. He constantly heaps credit on the talented players surrounding him.
“My guys were finding open holes,” Dan Williams said after the 57-27 championship win over Kingsway Saturday night. “Guys would sit in open windows and run past their man, I just had to get it to them.”
Dan Williams also credited Green and Nash for helping him stay confident about his play early in the season. Rather than rip them apart, the competition between the three players brought them together, he said.
“The guys always kept pushing me, even Jagger and Miles,” Dan Williams said. “Even when we all weren’t doing well, we kept pushing each other and wanted each other to succeed. The goal always from the team was to win the championship. That was our goal; no matter who was playing, we just wanted to win.”