Griggs named top offensive player
Published 9:18 pm Sunday, January 11, 2009
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — The 2008 football season was not supposed to go this way for Williamston.
Well, at first it was, then it wasn’t, then nobody knew what to expect.
Heading into August the Tigers, who returned several key players from a 2007 team that had won the Atlantic Conference and a first round playoff game, were the early favorites to repeat as conference champs and make a run at a state title.
With an offense built around the talents of play-making quarterback Cedric Moody, and a defense powered by twin pass rushers DeBrian and DeBriant Everett, Williamston was well on its way to becoming one of the top teams in the east.
The Tigers’ prospects of a dream season turned into a nightmare on Week 2, when Moody suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Williamston coach Asim McGill was faced with two options: either play unproven sophomore Luke Mathews behind center, or have lifelong fullback Emery Griggs take the snaps.
Inspired by the likes of Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators, McGill chose to put his burly but lightning quick 6-3, 230-pound fullback in the quarterback spot and take his chances.
For the Tigers, it was time to hit the snooze button as the dream season was back in the mix for a little while longer.
After an awkward transitional phase, the running back turned QB acclimated better than anyone could have hoped for and led his team to its second straight conference title, four playoff wins and a trip to the 1-A state championship game.
His efforts also led him to be named the Washington Daily News Offensive Player of the Year and a first team all-state selection as an athlete.
Equipped with one of the best stiff-arms in the game, Griggs plowed past whatever would be defenders he couldn’t run past.
When the situation called for a pass, Griggs delivered. Armed with an unconventional, shot-put style throw, with the help of his coaches, Griggs became enough of a passer to make opponents fear the threat of an air attack.
On the season, Griggs gained 2,120 yards on 327 carries (6.4 yards per attempt), threw for 1,152 yards while accounting for 34 touchdowns.
Griggs’ ability to fill in at quarterback and lead his team to state championship game is so far fetched that both McGill and Griggs said that would they would not even entertain the thought if you had told them it would happen in the beginning of the season.
McGill echoed his star athlete.
The Tigers did a lot of things nobody thought they could do this season.
At the start year, nobody thought they could lose, but after the Moody injury, Williamston looked shaky and in Week 8 suffered a 40-0 home loss to Plymouth.
However, after the defeat by the Vikings, the Tigers closed out the regular season with three straight wins, all in convincing fashion.
The late season success left fans wondering just how good is this team. That question was answered on Dec. 5
Riding what grew into a six game wining streak, Williamston had advanced to the 1-A semifinals to face a highly-touted Jones senior team that had won 13 games in a row.
Led by their own all-state athlete in Covair Frost, the Trojans were massive favorites to ring the alarm and wake up Williamston from its dream season.
The only problem was that Griggs and the rest of the Tigers didn’t feel like getting out of bed yet.
Griggs put on a display that he would label as his best moment in a Williamston uniform as he ran for 326 yards on 38 carries and four TDs, while throwing for another one in the Tigers’ 42-41 upset over the top-ranked Trojans.