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K.W. Williams — 2012 Male Athlete of the Year
K.W. Williams had a senior year at Thomas Jefferson High School that should be portrayed in some type of PG-13 movie, starring a Channing Tatum-esque actor.
The quarterback led his team to the playoffs for the first time in school history, then won a state wrestling title in front of thousands of cheering fans, then played outfield for the baseball team. These accomplishments all came while he was the senior class president.
But Williams wasn’t reading from a script. His senior year actually happened and earned him The Mirror’s 2012 Male Athlete of the Year.
“I guess you can say that no matter what I have to do, no matter how hard it is, if you work hard, you will almost always succeed with any sport and any aspect of life,” Williams said. “If you want something bad enough, you will succeed.”
Williams definitely succeeded this year for the Raiders. He helped put Thomas Jefferson on the map as a power in the South Puget Sound League North Division.
“I’m gong to miss the people at TJ,” Williams said. “I’m going to miss the atmosphere. Some people complain about high school. I know I did. I was bitter sometimes. But I now realize that it was great.”
Williams’ biggest coup came during the fall when he quarterbacked the Raiders into the opening round of the postseason, where they lost to Eastlake. It was the first time TJ qualified for the playoffs since opening in 1976. The Raiders also beat Kentwood and Auburn in the same season, something that has never happened before.
“Our team doesn’t have a history of being that good,” Williams said. “I just wanted to get our team’s name out there. A bulk of the seniors, who had the most impact on the game, all played together as freshmen. We came up together.”
Williams played a huge role in the team’s success on offense. The senior had a monster season, leading the entire South Puget Sound League in rushing yards with 1,282 yards during the nine league games.
Williams was the first-team, All-SPSL North quarterback and the division’s offensive back of the year. He also became the third quarterback in SPSL history to rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 1,000 yards during the season. He finished with 1,111 yards passing with 11 touchdowns. In total, he accounted for 26 touchdowns in nine games.
Williams’ best statistical game came during a win over Kent-Meridian. He finished with 200 yards on the ground and a pair of touchdowns and also passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
“I did my little part every game,” Williams said. “It was a team effort. I know I was being looked at as a leader, which is a good feeling. But it was a good feeling to be a big part in helping the team move on and achieve success. Obviously, TJ hasn’t had that.”
But Williams will be giving up the allure of playing quarterback when he heads to Idaho State University later this summer. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder was recruited as a safety and will play on the defensive side of the ball in college.
“They say that I have the ability to come in and play as a freshman,” Williams said. “I’m going to do everything I can to play.”
It was recently announced that Idaho State will play the University of Washington at Husky Stadium on Sept. 21, 2013.
“That would be the biggest game of my life,” said Williams, who plans on majoring in microbiology or exercise science in college. “I was talking to a UW recruiter and went to a camp of theirs. Things just didn’t work out in the end when they seemed favorable. I feel like I kind of got the short end of the stick.”
Wrestling season was a little different story for Williams. He went into the year as the favorite to win the Class 4A 195-pound championship, and he didn’t disappoint.
Williams avenged his only loss of the season to Curtis senior Kadyn Del Toro in the championship match inside the Tacoma Dome. It was the same mat that saw Williams lose in the state title match a season before. This time, Williams hoisted the championship with a 7-4 win over Del Toro.
“I mentally prepared myself for my senior year,” Williams said. “I went into every match knowing I was going to be state champ.
“I really miss not wrestling right now. I just miss being able to control somebody, I guess. Wrestling really helped me out. It made my mind strong at crunch time. I was pretty good in those kind of times.”
Williams was also pretty good on the baseball field as an outfielder. This year, he hit .275 and was third on the team with 11 RBIs and four doubles. As a junior, he hit .396 and led TJ with 17 RBIs and two home runs.
“I have played baseball since I was three,” Williams said. “There is so much that goes into it. You have to be so technically sound and you can’t halfway do something.”
Williams definitely didn’t do anything halfway during his time at Jefferson.