For Micah Williams, it is those plays that he did not make that truly drives him.
The Lafeyette High senior defensive end-outside linebacker is counted on to make big plays for the Mighty Lion defense. Yes, Williams is known for his ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks or help record a tackle for a loss on third and short. Even those types of plays help fill up a stat sheet, and the all-district honors that usually are associated with them, they are not what Williams focuses on.
“I am not a stat guy,” Williams said. “I am more hard on myself because of the plays that I didn’t make during the game. That is what matters most to me.”
Williams is serious about his approach.
When asked about one of the bigger plays he has been involved with in his Mighty Lion career, the four-year letterman instantly remembers a play he didn’t make in last year’s 21-14 loss to Sulphur.
“It was a crucial down in the game and I was supposed to get under the block and I didn’t,” Williams remembered. “I couldn’t get there and they got the first down and the game was over. Those are the types of plays that drives me.”
That kind of unselfish and humbled approach explains why Williams, now in his second full season as a starter, is viewed as a leader of the team.
“Micah really developed as a leader for us starting last season,” said fourth-year Lions head coach Rob Pool who’s 2-0 team hosts Patterson on Friday. “He makes plays which helps make people want to follow him. He has high character and is a hard worker. He is the exact type of kid we want in our program.”
That praise from his head coach isn’t all that surprising considering that Williams wears No. 21. The number, which was worn by the late Ken Myers, is given each season to a player that embodies the leadership of the Mighty Lion football team. This year the team didn’t even need to vote.
“It meant a lot,” said Williams on being selected to wear No. 21. “Coach Pool asked the team if we needed to vote or if they already knew who they wanted and they wanted me. It is very humbling. That means a lot for your teammates to have faith in you to wear it.”
That caliber of leadership isn’t the only thing that the team counts on WIlliams to achieve on Friday nights. The team, and Mighty Lions coaching staff, also depends on his versatility.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Williams lines up with his hand in the ground at defensive end or can line up at outside linebacker for blitzes or for coverage. So is it that dual responsibility a daunting challenge? Not for Williams.
“It is a little bit of a challenge but the thing is that I started off as an outside linebacker in my sophomore season,” said Williams, who recorded 43 tackles in 2018. “It is a little different mindset on how to play and prepare for the play but playing outside linebacker is part of my roots here so that makes it easier.”
If Williams did have a preference it would be to play whatever spot on the field gives him the best opportunity to sack the quarterback. In two games this season, Williams has already recorded 7 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss and 3 quarterback hurries.
“I really love to getting after the quarterback,” Williams said. “That is the best feeling getting around the edge and sacking that quarterback. I am not the biggest person on the field but I will myself past you if I can. I am not going to let you push me around.”
Even though Williams is a multi-sport athlete, he also runs the 400-meter and 800-meter dash in track and field, he has yet to receive any real offers to play at the next level. Williams, who is active as a member of the LHS Key Club and Link Crew, would love that opportunity if it presents itself.
For right now the 3.0 GPA student, who has a passion for psychology and history, is just focused on leaving the Mighty Lion football program in better place than it was when he first came out as freshman.
“To leave the team better how I found it,” Williams said. “That is my main goal. I don’t want to look back years from now and feel like I didn’t leave the program better than when I arrived. I want to leave this program in a better state. Everything I do on Friday nights is all about achieving that goal.”