To kick off the first week of the football regular season, we’re taking a pigskin spin on “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Today’s installments for something borrowed includes a transfer quarterback.
Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford’s first recollection of Taron Williams was from last year’s game against Northeast. Williams, then the Vikings’ junior quarterback, dropped back to pass midway through the second quarter. Before he could escape the pocket, he was decked by defensive lineman Jeremi Powell and knocked out of the game.
Fast forward a couple months. On one of the first days of the second semester, Crawford was approached by a new student. It was Williams, whose family moved into the Pinellas Park zone. The Patriots were losing Brandon Hames to graduation and there was no clear-cut starter at quarterback heading into the spring. Then Williams showed up.
“He just came up to me said, ‘Coach, I’m Taron. I played at Northeast last year and I want to play football for you.’ I was happy with the kids we had, but he’s proven he can do the job,” Crawford said.
Williams spent three years at Northeast. If he had stayed for his senior year, he likely would have played behind sophomore Ryan Davis.
At Pinellas Park, he’d have a chance to start. He didn’t know any of his teammates, but was familiar with the Patriots’ multi-wing offense because assistant coach Shawn Austin helped run it at Northeast when Williams was a sophomore.
Williams immediately impressed. He completed all 10 of his passes and threw two touchdowns in the spring win over Ransom Everglades.
“I didn’t know any of these players,’’ Williams said. “I was familiar with the plays, but not the players. The one thing I wanted to do was make sure these guys trusted me. I think the spring game helped with that.’’
Senior tight end Tyree Graves said a strength of this year’s Pinellas Park team is familiarity. But for the Patriots to do well, they must rely on the player they borrowed from Northeast.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who have played together since pee wees; he’s one of the few newcomers,’’ Graves said. “He’s looked good. He threw me a touchdown pass (in the spring) so I know I like that. He throws the ball real well.’’
Crawford said he has been impressed with how Williams has run the offense so far.
“(Hames and Williams) are totally different kids,’’ Crawford said. “Brandon was an insane splash player. When he was hot, he was hot. When he was off, he was off. Taron is just looking to run the offense. If we tell him to read the force defender, he’s reading the force defender. If that force defender puts him in a bind, he’s not going to throw it.
“He can operate that offense. If there is a play he’s not good at, he’ll go home and practice it with his little brother. He comes back better the next day.’’
Williams has modest goals for his senior season. He knows his job is to be consistent and though Pinellas Park doesn’t air it out much on offense, he’d at least like to throw for triple digits each game.
“I’d like to get more than 100 passing yards in each game,’’ Williams said with a smile. “I did it last year, but I want to do it again this year.’’
Rodney Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org