McGill returns Tigers to glory

Published 8:52 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — Three years ago, to think that a season like this could occur would have been laughable.
It was the summer of 2006 when Asim McGill left his job as the offensive coordinator for 4-A Lee County High School in Sanford, and made his voyage back to eastern North Carolina to take over the reins at Williamston.
The contrast in programs was stark to say the least.
With a roster of less than 25 players, McGill, a former Washington football star, had his work cut out for him.
With his sleeves pushed up to his elbows, McGill took his small group of Tigers and won four games in his first season.
With a new, high-powered, spread offense, McGill transformed his team from a scrappy squad to king of the scrap heap when the Tigers went 9-3 and won the Atlantic Conference title in his second season.
The progression continued in 2008 as McGill lead his team to a state championship appearance, another conference title and a 10-6 record.
McGill’s dedication to his team has led to him being named the Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight season, and also led to him being named Washington Daily News Coach of the Year.
The third-year coach deflected his team’s success and passed it along to the hard work of his players.
The modest McGill can pass along the credit to his players as much as he wants, that’s what a coach is supposed to do. However, the fact is that McGill and his staff deserve tremendous credit for the job they have done this season.
The Tigers went to the state finals despite losing their biggest playmaker in quarterback Cedric Moody by the second week of the season, a player in which the offense was tailored around.
Filling in behind center was running back Emery Griggs, who was as comfortable throwing the ball as most soccer players.
Snapping the ball to Griggs was junior center Walt Ange, who at 5-5 looked more the part of the kicker.
On defense, Williamston was guided by twin linebackers’ DeBrian and DeBriant Everett, both of which many would say were to small to even play cornerback.
It was a season of defying the odds to say the least.
Griggs rushed for over 2,000 yards and was named to the 1-A all-state team, while Ange and the twins proved that size only counts when talking about a player’s heart.
The credit goes to McGill for coaching up an undersized group into a hungry pack of Tigers that finished second in the state.
When Moody went down early in the season it would have been easy for the team to get down on themselves, but Williamston kept its head up and kept battling.
That fighting spirit was most evident in the Tigers’ Week 4 loss to 2-A First Flight.
No game was more complete or as sweet for McGill as the Jones Senior game.
The third-seeded Tigers had marched all the way to the state semifinals where they were pitted against the No. 1 seeded Trojans who had won 13 games in a row.
Williamston, playing on the road as huge underdogs, where able to jump up and bite Jones Senior and pull out a 42-41 victory to advance to the state finals.
Tigers’ fans can be sure that with McGill at the helm, there will be plenty more awesome moments in the future.