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New wrinkle shows off Williams’ versatility


By Jimmy Trodglen


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Northeast introduced a wrinkle to an already impossible offense to stop, and one byproduct was Heath Williams showcasing yet another attribute.

Williams, the Eagles senior quarterback, entered Friday’s Region 7-5A game with 900 passing yards and 10 touchdowns passes.

He can now add a touchdown catch to a notable resume.

When the Eagles presented a new look in the offense, Williams validated his athleticism and versatility with a leaping, acrobatic touchdown catch as the Eagles rolled past Clarksville High 33-21 at Hilda J. Richardson Field Friday.

Williams added a rushing touchdown and was part of an Eagles’ offense that ran for more than 400 yards.

“Heath Williams is an athlete,” Eagles coach Chad Watson said “Not a whole lot of people know this, but you will see him on a basketball floor this year for coach (John) Stigall.

“Heath is an athletic kid. He can do a lot and I’m so proud of him and what he does.”

Devon Dillehay threw the touchdown pass to Williams and had his most offensive snaps in a game this season. Dillehay also ran for a touchdown.

“Devon, not a whole lot of people know it, but he’s grown up his whole life playing quarterback,” Watson said. “And there was a chance we thought he could be a quarterback when we got here, but I didn’t know I was walking into a stud like Heath Williams.

“So, we’re very fortunate to have both of them.”

Watson took over the Eagles program two years ago after being an assistant coach at Clarksville Academy.

New page in playbook

Watson said the Eagles had been working on an offensive set where a lineman and a pair of skill position players line up wide of where the ball is snapped, and said Friday was a good time to show the look.

“It was just a wrinkle where we were trying to get numbers in the box that we like, and it worked in our favor,” Watson said. “We were kind of holding onto it the whole year and we decided to use it tonight.”

Added Clarksville High coach Isaac Shelby: “It was a hard formation to line up to. We had not seen it; they did a good job with it.”

Cooper on target again

Clarksville High quarterback Ford Cooper kept the Wildcats within striking distance throwing for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

How it happened

Northeast jumped out to a 6-0 lead when Orr scored on a 38-yard run with 2:33 left in the first quarter.

The Wildcats took their only lead when they responded with an eight play, 67-yard scoring drive that culminated with Cooper’s 27-yard touchdown pass.

But the Wildcats’ lead was brief when Dillehay completed a nine-play drive with an 11-yard touchdown run.

Northeast pushed its lead to 19-7 at halftime following Williams’ 1-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds left in the half.

Dillehay’s 8-yard pass to Williams with 4:08 left in the third extended the Eagles’ lead to 26-7.

Clarksville High responded with Ford throwing a 41-yard touchdown pass to cut the margin to 26-14 with 1:24 remaining in the third, but any hope the Wildcats had of mounting a comeback faded one play later when Orr scored on an 80-yard touchdown run.

Series history

Northeast has won three straight against Clarksville High and owns a 10-8 edge in the series dating back to 2001.

Responding nicely

The Eagles endured a tumultuous two weeks after they self-reported the playing of an ineligible player to the TSSAA. Northeast submitted a hardship appeal to the TSSAA but it was denied, forcing the Eagles to forfeit their 5-0 start.

The Eagles entered the Region 7-5A game with the Wildcats needing every win to keep them in playoff contention. Northeast is 2-2 in the region and 2-5 overall with a trip to Northwest coming Friday.

“This is a really tough place to play,” said Watson, referring to Clarksville High’s homefield. “It’s probably the toughest away atmosphere we have been in all year. We knew they were never going to quit, so we just wanted to try to eliminate mistakes and turnovers and make them earn it.

“That is kind of the reason why we were on the ground a lot more tonight.”

Clarksville High is 1-2 in the region and 5-2 overall.

“They’re a good team and we’re a good team and we have three more weeks,” Shelby said.

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitter@Tnsports360

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