JEFFERSON’s backfield tandem of Sammy Williams and Colby Wood doesn’t have a catchy nickname yet. After all, the season is only two games old. But if they keep this up, the duo may earn one.
Williams and Wood each ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns this past Friday as the Dragons (2-0) rolled to a 41-7 win over Winder-Barrow. Jefferson finished with 371 yards rushing.
“Both those kids are running hard,” Dragon coach Ben Hall said. “We have to eliminate some turnovers that we had Friday night. It speaks volumes for the guys up front. The offensive line is playing well.”
Wood, just a freshman, leads Jefferson with 256 yards rushing (9.85 average) on the young season, while Williams, a senior, has gained 248 yards (5.4 average). Both have four touchdowns each.
This Dragon tailback tandem offers contrasting styles for an offense averaging 45.5 points through two games.
Williams — a seasoned veteran who played a major part of Jefferson’s 2012 state championship run — is a shifty, hard runner who can “cut on a dime,” Hall said. Wood — a talented back but one not far removed from middle school football — is a slasher and smooth runner, according to Hall.
“Sammy is more of a jitterbug type runner, and Colby is more of a long-strider,” Hall said.
Wood, who ran for 74 yards against Rabun County Aug. 22 in his Dragon debut (all of that coming in the second half), said adjusting to the tempo of the varsity game has been the biggest challenge he’s faced thus far making the jump to high school. At the same time, he said it’s been “very fun” to earn the number of carries he has as a freshman.
“I’m glad coach has a lot of faith in me,” said Wood, who ripped off an 89-yard touchdown run late in the rout against Winder-Barrow.
Williams has been helping the young backup learn the ropes.
“It’s pretty fun and he teaches me stuff and tells me where to go,” Wood said, noting the two have both set a goal of becoming 1,000-yard rushers this season.
Williams and Wood have had the benefit of running behind an offensive line that, despite having five new starters, is showing a lot of promise and starting to jell.
The Dragon front made up of Alex Corbett, Jackson Bowen, Zach Bowman, Zach Barber and Caleb Chandler cleared the way for nearly 400 yards on the ground Friday in only their second game together as a unit. Hall pointed in particular to the play of Corbett who matched up head-to-head with the Bulldoggs’ standout nose guard Anthony Gates. Hall, however, believes it won’t be until three to four weeks into the season that this new Jefferson offensive line truly jells.
Meanwhile, Jefferson’s passing game and its weapons on the perimeter — and the amount of attention a defense must devote to that — have opened up a lot of opportunities for the Williams and Wood tandem. The Dragons are armed with standouts T.J. Skelton (117 yards receiving) and Dalton Hill (254 yards receiving), who can both stretch the field, and Evan Shirreffs at quarterback. Shirreffs has already thrown for 449 yards.
“Evan has played extremely well in the first two games,” Hall said.
While Wood’s prep career has just started, Williams has only this year left to help add to the legacy of this senior class, which has 34 wins and a state title to its credit.
“I think that’s motivating him,” Hall said. “He realizes it’s his last opportunity to play here for Jefferson, and he’s playing hard.”
Wood, if the first two games are any indication, has a chance to make a name for himself, too, by the time is career his over.
“Colby, if he continues to work and stays healthy, if he plays like he has the last two weeks, the future is bright for him,” Hall said.
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