My high school report
Unfortunately, I only got to see Miles Williams of Austintown Fitch in his
game on Friday night for four plays but, believe it or not, I saw enough. Fitch
beat neighboring Canfield 48-40 in a shootout.
On the very first play of the game, Williams came up from his safety position to lay a big hit on a Canfield ball carrier, making his presence known on defense immediately. And then two plays later Williams took a punt from his own 29 yard line and raced every-which-way, covering 71 yards, for a score. The return was Ted Ginn Jr.-like.
"I was screaming at him to get to the wall and then I'm screaming, ‘Oh my,' it was awesome," said Fitch head coach Neal Kopp. "I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat for it, one of the best seats in the house. He did it last week too on a kickoff when GlenOak scored to make it 28-20. He had a 65-yard kickoff return.
"He's just flat-out electric, and I've yet to see the first guy there bring him down. He'll lower his should if he has to and if he has the opportunity to use his athletic ability, he's stunning."
Unfortunately for Williams, he re-tweaked a hamstring on the punt return that he believes he originally tweaked while warming up before the game.
"During pregame when we were stretching as a team in the wrestling room, one of my coaches stretched my hamstring out," Williams said. "I laid on the ground and he just lifted my leg up and started pushing. He pushed a little too far and you could hear like a tear or a crack. I came out for pregame for specialists and it felt all right. I was sprinting and it felt all right.
"But on that punt return I made a cut and I could feel it just tighten up. I couldn't really do anything after that. I can't even jog. I would have played if I could, no matter how bad it was, but I couldn't."
The initial diagnosis from the medical people on the sideline was a grade-A pull which is the least serious one I was told.
"I'll be ready for next week," Williams said. "This is the first for me, that's why I didn't know how to take it when I first heard something pull or crack, I didn't know. But then on that punt it just tightened up. But they said I should be all right for next week."
A week earlier, Williams, a two-way performer for the Falcons, missed some playing time on the field as well.
"I had stomach cramps in the first half and they said they were going to keep me out on offense for the second half," he said. "But I still played on defense."
Fitch, 3-1 on the campaign, could have obviously used Williams against Canfield, especially on defense as the Cardinals passed for 421 yards on the evening.
"Miles in the secondary, I guarantee at corner, would have probably clamped down on that receiver that had all of those yards much better," Kopp said. "And also from a standpoint that he's one of our captains and one of our team leaders."
Williams has been getting the bulk of his playing time on offense this year at tailback and not as a receiver, the position that Ohio State recruited him to play. But Kopp did say that they were game planning to use him some as a wideout against Canfield.
"We want to use Miles more at receiver because we feel that Mike Elisio is a good tailback," Kopp said. "That was going to be our plans tonight that Miles would do a little bit of both and unfortunately he strained a hamstring -- I guess that's what it is -- and he's just got to get it healed up."
Despite the setbacks for Williams in the past two games that has caused him to miss some playing time, Kopp still gives Williams more than a passing grade on the campaign.
"He's just been outstanding," the coach said. "It's unfortunate he's lost two games now (offensively) but he is truly -- he might be a receiver down at Ohio State -- but he is truly one outstanding tailback. We're going to need him down the road because it's apparent that he's electric when he has the ball in his hands, and hopefully he will be all right."
Kopp knows he has to be patient with Williams' injury or he might not have him at full-go, more so on defense than on offense, for the remainder of the season.
"We'll obviously get him some treatment this week but from the team standpoint, because I think, if we get our thing corrected defensively, we can be a pretty darn good football team," Kopp said. "And I'm happy that the kids are seeing that we're not sputtering without offensively. We miss him more defensively really. Last week when he was sick we kept him in on defense and it was apparent that we had some big stops with him in the secondary. So if we have to keep him one way and keep him defensively, then we might have to do that.
"But the one thing is I don't want to worsen it so if we've got to rest him another week or so we'll do it. We've got a hard second-half of the schedule coming up and we're going to need him in the crunch time."
Oh, by the way, Canfield's punter, Justin Kusek (pictured below), was a guest of OSU at the team's first two games this year and he was invited to all three. His father Jack Kusek is a former professional baseball pitcher. Word has it that Kusek is OSU's top kicking prospect and he will indeed go to Ohio State if/when he's not offered. My sources have told me that he will be offered a scholarship sometime after the end of the season. Kusek really booms the ball well and he has great hang time. He has even hit the roof of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center's indoor field.