This isn’t the first time that Christian Williams has been on the big stage.
He competed in judo in the Junior Olympics in 2012 in Irving, Texas.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever felt spotlight on me, besides being here now in this playoff game,” the Black Hills High School junior quarterback said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever thought, ‘Wow. This is something big.’ ”
And here Williams is again.
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This time, he’s quarterbacking a ninth-ranked Wolves football team that is off to a record-breaking start at 9-1 and making its first Class 2A state playoff appearance since 2009.
The Wolves travel to Goddard Stadium in Everett to face fourth-ranked Archbishop Murphy (10-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.
“The playoff experience is kind of new for everybody,” Black Hills coach Kirk Stevens said.
He won the starting quarterback job this season after mostly taking snaps on junior varsity last year.
“The difference is his decision-making has sped up,” Stevens said. “So, making that transition from JV to varsity — the speed of the game didn’t change.”
Williams attributes much of that decisiveness to his work with the National Football Academies’ Blackshirts program, which focuses on development of quarterbacks.
“I really wanted to win out the starting job,” Williams said. “I’ve been with NFA since summer going into ninth grade, but the last year it really kicked in because I had a chance to win this job. So, I’ve been really grinding, throwing routes in the offseason with guys. It’s been a lot of work.”
Williams started this season splitting time with senior quarterback Chase Morrow, but has taken over the starting role almost exclusively since Morrow injured his shoulder against North Kitsap in Week 3.
Except for a one-game absence after exiting with a head injury against Tumwater in Week 8 — Black Hills’ only loss — Williams has effectively led the offense.
“I’ve been continuously working on reading defenses, but the thing that’s really changed over the offseason is throwing a good ball,” he said. “I could throw a ball, but it wasn’t the most accurate ball. I’ve really been able to turn it on this year.”
It’s been about as simple as that.
Williams is 52 of 78 passing for 1,285 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“I’ve just gotten timing down with my receivers,” he said. “I know where they’re going to be; I can see gaps in the defense. I know they’re going to be in those gaps, so I just throw it there when I see them.”
And when the gaps aren’t there, the balancing practices he learned in judo kick in.
“It really helps me out on the field when I’m scrambling,” Williams said. “I can get away faster knowing how my body works.”