By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It hasn’t exactly been a dream season for Stillwater High School senior wide receiver Darian Williams.
Williams came into the season as the Pioneers’ most dangerous offensive weapon with expectations of putting up big numbers in Stillwater’s pass-happy offense. But injuries and triple coverage have turned what was supposed to be a breakout season into a sub-par campaign for the 6-foot-5 receiver.
“I know we have a young quarterback and it just takes some time,” Williams said. “I knew what to expect, so I can’t be real mad about it. … If I’m not open it just means that other people are going to be open and as long as we’re winning it doesn’t matter.”
As Stillwater prepares to take on Enid at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Williams has 18 catches for 162 yards and no touchdowns — well below the 34 catches for 518 yards and 10 touchdowns Williams put up last year.
“He hasn’t had the opportunity to put up those numbers he had last year,” Stillwater receivers coach Kyle Lucas said. “He’s a 6-foot-5 kid who is very athletic, so even though he hasn’t put up those numbers, teams still have to honor him. He’s a tough matchup for anybody, so they usually put two or three guys on him each play.”
Williams may not be the go-to guy this year, but Lucas said he’s seen a different side of Williams develop as teams try to isolate him.
“He actually spoke at our team meal and said he learned that his role has changed this year,” Lucas said. “Brandon (Prather) is having an excellent year and is putting up numbers Darian would love to have, but Darian has done the little things that help guys like Brandon put up those big numbers. He doesn’t have the numbers, but he has provided some key blocks on a lot of touchdowns. If it weren’t for him, those plays probably wouldn’t have been touchdowns. He kind of relates to an offensive lineman in the sense that he may not contribute a lot of stats, but we couldn’t do it without him.”
Lucas said it’s that kind of leadership and unselfishness that separates Williams from most of the other players he’s coached in his career.
“That’s the type of leadership he’s brought to the team,” Lucas said. “He takes the younger guys in and shows them how to prepare. Every day he comes ready to work in practice and it rubs off on all of our players — not just the younger kids, but also the other seniors. It really shows a lot about Darian and his maturity level. No matter what, he’s a guy that’s willing to give it his all on every play.”
With only two games left in the season for the Pioneers, Williams is finally healthy and daring any team to leave him in one-on-one coverage. His time as a Pioneer may be coming to an end, but the senior standout says he still feels like he has a couple more big games left in him.
“If the ball comes my way, I’m going to go get it,” Williams said. “I’ll definitely make the play.”