On Friday when the Eagles hosted the Hollandale-Simmons Blue Devils in a battle for first place in Region 3-2A his players proved just how much they believed in that philosophy as they clinched their 11th consecutive region crown with a 6-0 victory here at Leland Young Stadium.
"Our kids have bought in to everything we have been saying,” Williams said. “I told them through the spring and after the first game that when everybody counts you out, to keep praying and God will count you in. We pray before practice, after practice and if things aren't going well we will stop and pray during practice. I just thank God for allowing us to come together and allow the kids to be receptive to what we are teaching and just believing."
The Eagles improved to 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the region. The Eagles will end the regular season on Friday when they travel to North Carrollton to play the 4-6 J.Z. George Jaguars. The Jags are 2-2 in the region 3-2A standings.
Clinging to a 6-0 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils had the ball on the Eagles' 30-yard line with 2:30 on the clock. The Eagles' defense had given up two touchdowns on the drive already, but was saved by a block in the back penalty as well as an Illegal procedure penalty on the Blue Devils to negate both scores.
On fourth and two, Williams called timeout to talk things over with his defense knowing clearly the Blue Devils were in four down territory.
Out of the timeout, Hollandale's quarterback, Roy Halum tried to turn the corner as he had done all night, but West Bolivar's Keenan Neal was there to set the edge and stretch the elusive Halum out wide, while big Rodriguez Bush came and finished off the play with the tackle-for-loss to stop the Blue Devils on fourth down.
The Eagles took control of the ball with 2:18 left in the game and Lenardo Brown and the Eagles’ offensive line did the rest as they ran out the clock to secure the victory.
"I called timeout to make sure they knew what the situation was,” Williams said. “I wanted to make sure they watched the ball and didn't jump offside. We made an adjustment there and it paid off. We preach to our kids to run to the ball and we were able to get a couple of hats on that one player so that's a testament to practice showing up on the game field.”
Williams said it was an awesome game between two really good teams, but the story was how defensively both teams came to play.
"We had great effort tonight,” Williams said. “They (Eagles defense) kept fighting and never gave up. We were up 6-0 going in at halftime and I told them that if they don't score we win. Defense wins ball games and our kids stepped it up on defense. We bend a little bit, but we never broke and we got the stops when we needed them.”
The Eagles’ defense started the game stopping the Blue Devils opening drive forcing a turnover on downs.
West Bolivar came back and put together a strong drive with Tayshawn Conway completing a 26-yard pass to Dekeenan Boyd and on third down and 14 he found Lenardo Brown for a 42-yard completion down to the Blue Devils' five-yard line.
Brown ran the ball again for a two-yard gain for second and goal at the three-yard line, but disaster struck on the next play as Greg Robb fumbled and Simmons recovered.
The West Bolivar defense stood tall again as Deguadereck Rice intercepted Halum's pass to give the ball back to the Eagles.
The Eagles offense put together a strong drive and on third and three from the 18-yard line Conway connected with Rice for a touchdown, but the score was called back due to an Eagles' penalty as the first quarter expired.
The Eagles turned the ball over on downs to start the second, but the defense forced the Blue Devils to punt to give the ball back to West Bolivar.
The Eagles made the Blue Devils pay this time as Brown went to work running the football as he capped off a six play, 51-yard drive with a six yard touchdown with 5:32 left in the second quarter. The kick after was blocked, but West Bolivar was on the board for the first and only points of the night.
Brown led the Eagles offense with 101 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown. Conway completed 5-of-6 passes for 83 yards and added 38 yards on seven carries. Larry Walker led West Bolivar’s defense with nine tackles, followed by Brown with eight tackles, Bush, Neal and Ladarius Tucker with seven tackles each and Rice with two tackles with and an interception.