by Jason Salas
A curious epiphany slapped me upside the head while at the UOG Field today. I was hanging out at my alma mater's Mangilao campus on my off-day to watch the Shell Hal's Angels play the DOCOMO Chargers in the second of two weekend games in the Miller Football League. Since I didn't have to work this game I joined other fans, chatting it up and enjoying the atmosphere - the sunshine, the camaraderie, the music, the hotdogs - the whole nine yards, if you will.
And in witnessing the complete and uncomfortable dismantling of the DOCOMO squad (Shell won handily 68-0), I looked out at the field and noticed a familiar face scurrying about in Angel blue - someone I covered throughout his stellar high school career under center at Father Duenas Memorial School: Will Williams. Easily one of the best quarterbacks in the elite Friar signal-calling fraternity.
And instantly in that moment, it hit me - head coach Ivan Shiroma's playbook just got a heck of a lot deeper.
In the previous week, I noticed Williams' listing on the Angel roster and thought he might make a huge difference against their archrival Cars Plus Rams, but he didn't play. Didn't even dress. The Rams prevailed in triple-overtime, 12-6. Naturally, issues about Shell mounting a proper title defense have bubbled up.
But now the Angels' attack, at times criticized for being too one-dimensional, has broad potential. Williams brings to the table a multitude of options: a speedy, triple-threat wingman. Taking direct snaps in the wildcat. Running the spread option. Lining up in the slot or split wide. Halfback passes. Or just the dynamic improvisation that made him so dangerous for the maroon and gold. The Angels have the potential to muster an offense with enough trick plays to make David Blaine gasp and be more confusing to opposing defenses than trying to explain Inception's plot to a 5th grader.
And keep in mind that Shiroma's already not wasted any time thinking outside the box - his team's already debuted a wishbone offense that proved highly efficient, if not thoroughly dominant.
But reckless abandon isn't something managed lightly, a fact of which Shiroma is well aware. Ever-stoic and cautiously optimistic, the coach told me he has to constantly remind his "complementary QB" that he simply can't run around like he did against prep players when he was clearly the most talented player and rely on sheer athleticism alone.
But he still sees the potential of having such a gamebreaker on his sideline. And so late in the ballgame against the Chargers, his team already firmly up 40-0, Williams was allowed to get creative. He turned a broken rollout defended perfectly by the Chargers into a 58-yard scamper with his speed and instinct, followed up by a perfect touchdown strike to tight end Travis Meno. It was a high-octane drive engineered flawlessly. He's that type of x-factor.
In case you're wondering at this point about a quarterback controversy - stop. Steve Phillips' role as his team's leader is secure. But could we possibly see a two-QB system like John Cooper's Ohio State teams of the mid-1990s? I doubt it. Such bigamy, while highly entertaining, wouldn't likely work long-term.
Williams wears jersey #7, ostensibly in tribute to or inspired by John Elway and Michael Vick, both legendary running quarterbacks. So keep an eye on this subplot as you follow our coverage of the 2011 season, pigskin fans. Providing the Angels can rein-in their talented second quarterback, they may have something here.
Jason Salas, a football enthusiast since his grandfather sat him on his knee at age 11 and taught him the game by saying simply "See that guy wearing #34? That's Walter Payton. Watch him.", passionately fulfills his play-by-play duties for the MFL each weekend. Just don't get him started on the BCS.