Williams did heroic work on, off field for Humphreys
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 9, 2017
They call him, “Thor,” for a number of reasons in Humphreys football country.
Partly because of the mane jutting from underneath Owen Williams’ helmet. Definitely the loud cracking of pads when the Blackhawks senior moves in for one of his team-leading tackles.
But as the team captain, Williams rarely crackled thunder, but resonated helpful.
He and his coaches say he has much more of a role to play than just racking up big on-field numbers, more than helping the team win and achieve its first Far East Division II title.
“Thor has been a leader both on and off the field,” said coach Steve Elliott on Monday, nine days after Williams helped the Blackhawks capture that title 39-0 over Matthew C. Perry. It avenged a 20-10 loss 15 days earlier and the 44-6 loss at Perry in the 2016 D-II final.
Williams was key to that effort, especially on defense, where he led the team with 104 tackles on the season, 18 for losses, and recovered four fumbles. He caught 22 passes for 327 yards and seven touchdowns. “On the field, Thor was the heart of our team,” Elliott said.
“He was always the first one on the field for practice and the last one to leave. Never one to lay blame, he was always the first to congratulate teammates on a great play and give a reassuring pat on the shoulder pads when a mistake was made,” Elliott said.
Williams was also important in setting the example in the classroom. He maintained 3.5 GPA.
“Not only has he maintained his grades, he has also assisted his teammates in maintaining theirs,” Elliott said. During study halls, Williams could be found “assisting teammates with problems … or breaking down lessons in a way that teammates could understand them.”
For all his work on the gridiron and in school, Williams has been named Stars and Stripes Pacific football Athlete of the Year.
Williams said he understood those responsibilities and did his best to handle.
“You have a team captain, he has to take responsibility, helping out others with things that matter most,” Williams said. “Give them information that would help them. Keep spreading that wealth, help them if they needed help with anything.”
That 38-point defeat at Perry on Nov. 5, 2016, still gnawed inside, he said. And it was his senior season. But he also wanted to ensure his teammates would work one week at a time and not look too far ahead.
“We got our teeth kicked in,” he said. “That was a bad feeling. We had to make up for it. Focusing on one game every week, it was pretty difficult. Everybody wanted a piece of them (Perry) to show the people in the Pacific we could take those guys on.”
A season sweep of Daegu put the Blackhawks in position to accomplish that dream. When the final whistle blew on the last play of the D-II final, Williams said he felt more relieved than anything else.
“So many emotions,” he said. “I knew we could do it. Yes, we finally proved it. We came to do what we did. Excited, started to tear up. It was bittersweet, my last high school game. A lot of people dream about going out champions and to do that, it was heartwarming.”
Other football Player of the Year nominees
Kacey Walker, Sr., QB, Nile C. Kinnick.
Cody Sego, Sr., QB-FS, Kadena.
Eric McCarter, Jr., RB-CB, Kadena.
DeAundre Cruz, Sr., RB, Father Duenas, Guam.
Hunter VanHoose, Jr., RB-LB, Osan.
Jack Ambrosino, Sr., QB-CB, American School In Japan.
Humphreys senior tight end-linebacker Owen Williams is as well known for the mane of hair flowing from out under his helmet as he is for big plays on both sides of the ball and for leadership, on and off the field. Williams has been named Stars and Stripes' Pacific football Athlete of the Year.
AIDEN RIVERA/SPECIAL TO STRIPES