Zeke Williams steps up for Gatlinburg-PIttman
Missing injured All-County running back Michael Muszik, Gatlinburg-Pittman asked senior Zeke Williams to carry the load against Greenback.
No big deal. Williams proceeded to lead the Highlanders on three touchdown drives in the first half of a 20-14 win.
“The team put a lot on my shoulders, you know?” Williams said. “But I know I can do it. I’ve been here four years. This is my senior year. I can handle that pressure. I knew I had a good line in front of me so I knew I could get the job done.”
Williams had 100 yards by halftime, both by grinding out short gains and carving up the Cherokees’ defense on long runs. He carried on the Highlanders’ first four plays from scrimmage leading to a Tanner Cox touchdown run on an 8-minute opening drive.
The senior busted off a 20-yard run to start G-P’s next drive. His 38 yards on two rushes would put Cox in position for another touchdown on the guests’ third drive of the day.
Williams also had a hand in the decisive touchdown, running 17 yards before a fumbled ended up in the grasp of Jeremy Odom.
“Man, thank goodness for (Williams),” said Highlanders coach Benny Hammonds. “He had a good game running the football and picked up valuable yardage and moved it down the field for us at times. Without Zeke tonight, our offense would’ve been in trouble.”
Williams did it all coming off an ankle injury and avoiding the cramps that struck players all over the field on a hot and humid night in Loudon County. Hammonds had said during the week that Muszik could typically be counted on for 100 yards per game. Williams more than made up for that, reaching the mark by halftime.
Williams said his ankle felt strong and he didn’t have any trouble moving through the defense, finishing with 116 yards. While both offenses were held in check in the second half, the senior had given the Highlanders just enough of a cushion to pull out the victory.
“Obviously Michael’s a big load and he’s our main running back,” Cox said. “Zeke Williams is our speed back. He gets a lot of yardage. Lineman blocked for him. He had a bunch of yards. He did good for us.”