Williams-Dixon shines when Knights need him most

Williams-Dixon shines when Knights need him most

Image Credit: Justin Smith

West Holmes football has had a running clock in all 12 of its games this season.

Most of those games were essentially over by halftime.

Whenever a team has hung around for parts of the game, Knights running back Sam Williams-Dixon has taken his play to another level.

The most recent example of that came against St. Marys Memorial in a Div. IV regional quarterfinal on Nov. 4.

The Roughriders had no answer for Williams-Dixon, who scored a single-game school record seven touchdowns to lead West Holmes to a 56-21 victory.

Williams-Dixon impacted the game in numerous ways. Five of his touchdowns came on the ground, one through the air and another on an 87-yard kickoff return.

The junior finished with 200 yards rushing on 12 carries, 161 on two kickoff returns and 32 on one reception, equaling a whopping 393 total yards of production.

“Everyone had each other’s back (against St. Marys),” he said. “I had theirs. They had mine. We have the culture here, and we’re going to execute.”

West Holmes has certainly executed on offense this season, especially Williams-Dixon, who has continued to develop as a ball carrier after a banner sophomore season in which he rushed for 1,526 yards and 25 touchdowns on 250 carries, adding 56 catches for 997 yards and 10 scores.

In 11 games — he didn’t play against Mount Vernon in this year’s regular-season finale — he has rushed for 1,515 yards and 30 touchdowns, averaging 8.71 yards on 174 carries. He’s also averaging 16.7 yards per reception, turning 20 catches into 333 yards and a score.

Those numbers equate to Williams-Dixon having one of the best seasons by a running back in school history. He has a legitimate chance to break three single-season school records including one he set last year.

He has already twice tied the single-game school record for rushing touchdowns with five scores against Ashland and St. Marys. And he just missed breaking the single-game school record for rushing yards (334) when he churned out a career-high 313 yards on 30 carries against the Arrows.

“(Williams-Dixon) is a special athlete,” West Holmes coach Zach Gardner said. “The things that he does with his hands on the ball are something absolutely special.”

With Williams-Dixon leading the way, the Knights have been rolling on offense this season. They’re averaging a state-best 51.2 points and have scored at least 37 points in each game, including 48-plus in their past eight.

Senior quarterback Mason Wolfe has diced up opposing defenses while throwing to a talented group of receivers, led by junior Kyle Maltarich. The passing game has been a nice complement to Williams-Dixon, who draws loads of attention from opposing defenses.

“The key (to our offense) is we have each other’s backs, and we have a good game plan,” Williams-Dixon said. “We’ve been going hard in practice and running hard routes and just going crazy.”

The Knights led St. Marys 34-21 at halftime before putting the game away in the second half. They haven’t faced much second-half adversity this season because they’ve blown away most of their opponents in the opening 24 minutes, so a little pressure to start the second half will only serve them well moving forward in the postseason.

“It was great to have a close game like this, especially in the first half,” Williams-Dixon said. “We had to take off in the second (half).”

West Holmes is widely considered one of the favorites to win the Div. IV state championship this season, and Williams-Dixon is one of the main reasons why.

The Knights will take their next step toward trying to win a state title when they face Van Wert in a regional semifinal on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Harding Stadium in Marion.