The 2016 high school football season was one for the ages. So many of our local teams were successful. The individual accolades continue to pile up and I now need another limb to count the number of All-State honorees. Kudos to ARE area coaches and players for an amazing ride. OK. That's enough I promise. But incredible run boys. Thanks.
I wanted to tell you about one player in particular. This talented kid has already overcome many obstacles in his young career. Often times he is the best player on the field or court, but his qualities that don't show up on a stat sheet are what makes him a superstar.
I first met Loyalsock's Marcus Williams a few years back and I guess you can say we are now friends. I got to call a few of his football games this fall. I was immediately impressed with his abilities and I was extremely pleased to hear that Marcus was recently tagged All-State.
"Marcus had a tremendous football season," Lancer Coach Justin VanFleet explained. "He is one of the hardest working players I ever had. Marcus is a gifted athlete, but he means so much more. You can't measure his impact on a stat sheet. The kid does it all."
Marcus led the Lancers in several offensive and defensive categories. He tallied 1,788 all-purpose yards and scored a prodigious 22 touchdowns. #thesaurus. Marcus was a deep threat wherever he lined up. The kid averaged a stunning 21.6 per catch. He was lethal in the open field. The PIAA named Marcus to the 2016 All-State Football team as an Athlete. What an honor.
"I am still shocked," the humble senior told me via Skype. "I guess it really hasn't set in yet. I owe a lot to my teammates and coaches. But I am just so thankful to be back on the field again."
OK folks. Here comes the kicker. What makes Marcus' achievements and stats so much more impressive is that he sat out the entire 2015 season due to injury. Well Marcus played in one game and scored a touchdown his junior year. But on that long run he went down with scary ACL/MCL tear. The poor kid was done. No more football. Hoops and track were out too. I could only imagine. Bad luck.
"It was tough," Marcus reflected. "But I did what I could to stay involved. I was at every function and still believed I could contribute to the team."
"Marcus is a true leader," Van Fleet continued. "He is someone people should look up too. Marcus has a gift. He is one of those kids that brings out the best in everyone."
The stocky Williams also excels on the hardwood. He is the starting point guard for CI's surging Lancers. Marcus is a very tough matchup and plays with a passion. He is an honor roll student and is adored by the student body. My man even plays a mean trumpet. Like Coach said. The kid does it all.
Marcus Williams is well on his way. He is living proof that perseverance and hard work pays off. Marcus was dealt some tough cards last fall. He could have given up. But my man looked adversity in the eye and doubled down. His high school dream is now true. Marcus Williams is All-State and his picture will be on the wall.
"Marcus is exceptional," Legendary Coach Ron Insinger said. "He is one of those special players that comes around maybe once every decade. Like football. Marcus is our leader and does so much for us on the court. We missed him last season but man we are glad that he is back."
Well said Coach. Congratulations kid. You deserve it pal. What a difference a year makes. Cheers.