Barring something miraculous during the playoffs, Zaire Williams won’t match the eye-popping stats he produced last season when he rushed for over 1,600 yards and reached the end zone 28 times as a member of the Cherokee High School football team. Gone are the days when he gets the ball 25 times a game and is relied on the carry the load for an offense.
And Williams is OK with that.
What matters to him is winning football games and that’s something he helped Timber Creek do Friday night when he rushed for two scores – including a 52-yard rush midway through the fourth quarter that sealed a 19-6 win over Seneca.
“It’s great,” Williams said of his role on the Chargers’ offense. “We got great backs on the team and a lot of good play-makers on the team. I don’t mind playing along and doing my part. If I got to block, I will block. Whatever it takes to win I am down to do.”
Williams, who transferred to Timber Creek last winter, finished with 10 carries for 98 yards. He has been seeing around that many touches each game as part of a loaded backfield that includes Khalil Pierce and Bryce Shade. The Chargers also spread teams out with a shot-gun passing game that features plenty of throws.
The beauty of head coach Rob Hinson’s offense is that it keeps all of the running backs both fresh and hungry. Williams' fresh legs were put on display with four minutes left in the fourth quarter with the Chargers clinging to a 13-6 lead. Williams took the carry, got outside and ran past opposing defenders down the sideline for the score.
“It was a great run, great blocking,” said Williams. “I just took off and never looked back.”
Stinson said both Williams and Pierce have accepted their roles knowing that the big picture is all about winning games, and eventually a championship.
“What (having Williams) does, now neither one of those guys really get tired,” said Hinson. “We have Khalil who runs just as well and then you have Zaire, so neither one of those guys has to take the 20-25 carries a game. You have two backs that are fresh at the end of the game, which really helps.”
Williams’ first touchdown came with 5:32 left in the first half when he took a handoff on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and went to his left for a touchdown. Timber Creek stretched the advantage to 13-0 on its first series of the third quarter when Dan Williams hit Dajaun Drennon on a 7-yard slant and Drennon broke past a defender and took it to the end zone for a 24-yard score.
The other big development was the status of Greg Webb, who took the field for the first time this season after recovering from a knee injury. Webb played a limited role—just four series on defense—but gave the Chargers a nice boost in their interior defense. Webb—who is heading to the University of North Carolina next fall—is one of the top defenders in South Jersey and will make the Chargers that much more dangerous when they open the Group 3 playoffs in two weeks.
“It worked out perfectly for us,” Hinson said. “I didn’t want to use him any more. I was going to limit his reps so he got enough to get a taste of it. He did real well using his hands. … We have two weeks now to get him in even better shape.
Meanwhile, for Williams, getting to compete in the playoffs is what he has been thinking about since joining Timber Creek.
“It’s great to be in playoffs again,” Williams said. “I haven’t been in since my sophomore year so, I want to play hard and get this championship.”