Williams helped make history-making play
CHINA GROVE — Carson’s Tre Williams was seventh in the discus in last spring’s 3A state track and field championships, and he averaged 14.1 points per game as the Cougars’ all-county basketball point guard.
People have been a little slow to realize it, but he’s also pretty good in his fall sport.
That’s football. Williams leads Rowan County with three interceptions, and his third pick would get votes as the biggest play in Carson history.
It happened Friday in the Cougars’ surprising 28-21 win against West Rowan, a program that had owned Carson since the school was built.
With the score 14-14 in the second quarter, Williams read a screen pass near the West 45, jumped it, and headed for the house. Carson didn’t trail again.
“That was a defining moment in the game,” said Jason Stanley, Williams’ position coach.
It was a moment that clearly shouted, “We’re not just here to play with you — we can beat you.”
“It was such a momentum-building play that you can’t even put it into words,” Carson head coach Joe Pinyan said. “Tre is strong and he’s explosive. He was right-place, right-time on that screen, but that’s how it always seems to be with the kids who can play. They show up in the big ones.”
Williams (5-10, 195) had made similar pickoffs this season against Central Cabarrus and East Rowan. But in both instances, he was dragged down short of the end zone.
“The guys were kidding me that I was too slow and that they were glad I wasn’t on offense,” Williams said with a laugh. “They told me I’d never score, but this time I did. I’m still not getting many props, though. Now they’re saying that it’s about time I got one.”
Give an assist for the touchdown to linebacker Myquon Stout. He blocked West tailback Daisean Reddick, the fastest guy on the field and a guy who might have chased down Williams. Also give credit to linebacker Patrick Ratliff. Sprinting to the right of Williams, he warded off West quarterback Harrison Baucom, who had made the tackle that prevented Carson safety Will Zentmeyer from getting a pick-6 of his own two minutes earlier.
Williams was a linebacker as a junior and was pretty good. His shining moment was scoring a touchdown against East Rowan on a blocked punt.
With the arrival of Pinyan, Carson’s defensive scheme changed to the 3-5 look that Pinyan used during his coaching run with the Hornets that produced 100 wins in 10 seasons. Behind the three-man front are three linebackers. There are also two wild cards, multi-purpose players who can be defensive ends, linebackers or safeties. At Salisbury, Pinyan called those two guys “Hornets.” At Carson, Williams and Max Lear are referred to as “spurs.”
“I like being a spur,” Williams said. “The linebackers get to make most of the tackles because most plays happen inside the box. The spur is usually outside the box, but the spur is in position to make big plays. You might not get a lot of chances, so you have to be ready when that opportunity comes.”
No one has ever been more ready than Williams was on Friday.
“He’s a natural for the spur position,” Stanley said. “He has the size and the speed and he studies film. The play he made Friday was a combination of being prepared enough to read the play and athletic enough to make the play.”
It wasn’t like Williams had a one-play night. He made nine tackles as a run-stopper, and Pinyan said he handled his assignments when his responsibility was pass coverage.
“Tre had a great night,” Pinyan said. “Believe me, that was no mediocre football team we were playing.”
Williams, with that long-awaited trip to the end zone in his back pocket, is still on top of the world.
“Last year there was a lot of, ‘Why are you playing football, you could get hurt,’” Williams said. “But now it’s, ‘Hey, are you going to go anywhere to play football?’ It’s kind of funny how things have changed, but it feels pretty good.”
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