Many high school sophomores taking the football field for the first time on a Friday night will have some jitters.
K’Vante’ Williams is an exception.
Williams, the Wichita Heights quarterback, didn’t look nervous when he burst for 47 yards on his first varsity carry, and he was comfortable as he ran for 251 yards in just 16 carries as the Falcons took a 41-21 win over Olathe North at Heights Stadium.
“I just saw green grass every time,” Williams said, “and I just tried to get there.”
Williams’ success started after Heights was seeming stuck on its opening drive.
A promising start stalled after a block in the back penalty had heights facing fourth and 21, but Williams found room on a keeper off the right side and scooted 30 yards for a touchdown that gave Heights an early lead.
Three minutes later, Olathe North had fumbled to cut its first drive short, and Williams pulled the ball on the veer and slipped up the middle for a 23-yard score and a 13-0 advantage.
While Williams was slicing through gaps in the Olathe North defense, the Heights defenders took advantage of sloppy play in the first half by Olathe North, which made the Kansas 6A state semifinals last year.
The Eagles fumbled he ball away on each of their first two drives, with Heights’ Austin McCartney pouncing on both.
Ontario Russell, another sophomore, cashed in on Heights’ third drive of the game, going 35 yards to make it 20-0 less than 12 minutes into the game
“We’re excited about our team and some of these young guys we have, but you never know how they’re going to adjust to the speed of the game,” Heights coach Terry Harrison said. “I think it was really important to get that momentum. Olathe had that long bus ride and got hit in the mouth pretty quick, and we were able to take advantage.”
After Olathe North put its first scare into Heights with a quick 64-yard score by Malik Baynum-Brown, Williams put on his best show of the night.
Bouncing left after the snap, he seemed to be corralled for a loss near his own sideline but slipped out of the tackle to reverse field. Half the length of the field later, Williams ended up back near the left sideline before closing off his 70-yard run by fighting through another few tackles over the last few yards.
“He’s pretty good at football,” Harrison said. “We’ve got to keep finding ways to exploit his talent. And as fast and as good as he is on the field, he’s an even better kid.”
As a team, Heights rushed 49 times for 433 yards and all six of its touchdowns.