Time to move on

Published 9:42 pm Thursday, October 13, 2011

Washington quarterback Jimmy Williams (12) runs the mid-line option with running back Keane Graham (3) during a Pam Pack game earlier this year. Williams will be out for tonight’s Coastal Conference game against D.H. Conley after sustaining a concussion against White Oak last Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Washington will have its work cut out for it tonight as it has to move on from the loss of starting quarterback Jimmy Williams on the road against a tough D.H. Conley (6-2, 3-1) team that is tied for second in the Coastal Conference with West Carteret (7-1, 3-1).

Washington (4-3, 2-2) sits one spot beneath the Vikings in the conference standings, but can pull even with them with a win.

The Pam Pack will have to try and get that win without its star quarterback who suffered a fractured nose and a severe concussion during the team’s 21-0 home loss to White Oak last Friday.

Williams sustained those injuries with under three minutes to go in the first half when he was hit by giant 6-4, 232-pound defensive end Michal Warren while completing a pass to D.J. Bell. It’s suspected Williams took an elbow or hand to the face once he got rid of the ball, but the incident was not caught on film and Williams does not remember that play or the one before it.

Williams, who lay motionless on the field for several minutes, was taken to a hospital in Washington and eventually transferred to Pitt Memorial Hospital, where he wasn’t released until late Saturday night.

“He’s going to be out a few weeks, we don’t have a definite timeline on his return,” Washington coach Sport Sawyer said. “His health is more important right now than football.”

On Tuesday, Williams checked into school and appeared to be in good spirits.

“He came to school (Tuesday) just to say ‘hey,’” Sawyer said. “He came in and had a little smile on his face. … The guys were glad to see him. It was good for everybody to see him smile.”

Heading into the season the Pam Pack changed from an I-formation attack to a mid-line option offense designed to take advantage of Williams’ ability to run and pass. The offense was successful as Williams threw for nearly 500 yards and rushed for close to 1,000. However, without Williams, Sawyer and his staff must now tweak their scheme.

“We’ll have to change things up a little bit,” Sawyer said. “We are bringing up a freshman in Patrick Thompson to play quarterback and he has looked good the last couple of days in practice.”

With Thompson behind center, practice has taken on more urgency this week as the offense looks to build some familiarity with one another and the new adjustments.

“We had to change a whole lot of stuff because Patrick doesn’t run the mid-line,” Sawyer said. “You have some different thoughts in your head about which direction you want to go (with the offense). The mid-line is a play that has to have timing and athletes … (Patrick) is young and he’ll have to learn quick, but I think he can do it. I think our team has done a good job of rallying around him.”

Conley has had a remarkable season so far under former Washington coach Brian Paschal and is coming off of what might be its biggest win of the season as the team topped West Carteret 37-20 on the road.

Last week Washington had trouble stopping a very physical White Oak team that was extremely tough at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Tonight, the Pam Pack defense can expect the same as it prepares to slow down Paschal’s wing-T offense.

“We have to use better technique on defense at the line of scrimmage. Our guys have to push forward on the line and stay low,” Sawyer said. “Our coaches have really worked hard on that. When they get too high they are able to be pushed around, so we have to say low and fire off and so far this week we’ve been doing that.”