PARKERSBURG -On every football team, the most recognized member of the offense is the quarterback.
After all, he touches the ball on every offensive play.
But there's another player who also does that the center.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Senior Alex Williams will be the starting center when Parkersburg South opens its season Friday against Ripley.
He's the one who starts every play by snapping the ball.
Then, once that task is completed, it's also his job to plug up the middle of the opposing team's defense.
At Parkersburg South, that all-important position is manned by experienced senior Alex Williams, an imposing figure at 6-foot-1 and 290 pounds.
Williams grew up in a football-oriented family. His father, Rich Williams, is a former South head coach who now serves as an assistant to head coach Jon Bolen. It so happens that Bolen's son, Tyler Bolen, is the three-year starter at quarterback and one of Alex Williams' best friends. Plus, Williams' little brother, Luke, is a freshman member of the Patriots.
"I really enjoy football,'' said Williams. "I have been around it most of my life. I love the game.''
Last year, Williams and his Patriot teammates not only qualified for the state playoffs, but also won their opening round game before bowing out in the quarterfinals.
While some would view that as a solid accomplishment, Williams has a much loftier goal for his senior year.
"The second round of the playoffs is not good enough,'' he said. "We return three-fourths of our players. We are a lot more physical. And we have all worked hard. We have a bunch of talent this year.''
Williams has nothing but praise for the player to whom he centers the ball.
"Tyler Bolen has proven himself at a number of camps,'' said Williams. "He is throwing the ball much better. We want to make some history this year.''
Williams and his teammates would love nothing more than to send coach Bolen out a winner. Bolen has announced he will leave the program at the end of the year to return to Florida.
Williams knows all about living in a coach's family.
"My Dad is harder on me than anybody else,'' he said. "He has great expectations.''
Williams believes the Patriots, who open Friday night at home against Ripley, have improved over last year.
"I don't believe teams can muscle us like they did last year,'' he said. We want the state championship, just like in 2003.''
While that is one of Williams' biggest goals for the season, he makes no secret he would love nothing more than to get to play one game with his little brother.
"Luke and I are three years apart and we've never got to play together,'' he said.
Together is a good word to describe the South players. This is a close-knit team whose members spend a lot of time with each other, much of that outside of football.
Williams noted that South dominated not only 7-on-7 summer competitions, but also the linemen challenges at those scrimmages.
When the Patriots line up for an offensive play, it doesn't take long to notice Williams.
He is the center of attention.