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Copyright © 1999 Seattle Times Company
Posted at 11:08 a.m. PDT; Wednesday, September 8, 1999
Prep football


Seamount League: Kennedy High hasn't run out of running backs

Background and Related Info.

by Sandy Ringer
Seattle Times South bureau

BURIEN -- They came to see the Arnold Express and wound up jumping on the L-Train.

College recruiters seemed to have one common question after watching Paul Arnold strut his stuff in Kennedy High School football games last season: Who's No. 4?

"They came out to see Paul and Joey (Thomas)," Kennedy Coach Bob Bourgette said, referring to his star running back and quarterback, "but they all raved about No. 4."

The L-Train is Latrel Williams, a bruising fullback and linebacker who quickly showed he was on the fast track to success. While Arnold blazed, Williams bulldozed. While Arnold delivered big touchdowns, Williams delivered big hits. While Kennedy rode Arnold to the Class 3A state quarterfinals, Williams rode with him into the limelight.

Recruiters from UCLA told Bourgette there were two state of Washington players on their must-have list: Williams and Bellevue lineman Dan Dicks. The Bruins missed out on Arnold, who signed with the University of Washington, but they're determined to get the guy who was Arnold's lead blocker last season. California and Washington also have offered, according to Bourgette.

EXTRA POINTS

PRIME PROSPECT
Latrel Williams
FB/LB, 6-0, 205, Sr., Kennedy
Washington, UCLA and California have offered scholarships so far.

RISING STARS
Cory Jones
RB/DB, 6-2, 205, Jr., Kennedy
Transfer from Foster could be big surprise.

Shawn Dinius
FB/DE, 6-1, 215, Sr., Lindbergh
Jack-of-all-trades for the Eagles.

Bobby Bemal
WR/DB, 6-2, 210, Sr., Tyee
Big playmaker could star for anyone.

KEY GAME
Nov. 16
Renton vs. Kennedy at Highline Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

PLAYOFF PEDIGREE Liberty won the Seamount League's only state championship in 1988 and was runner-up in 1980. Mount Rainier is the only other Seamount team to reach the finals, losing the 1990 title game to Tumwater.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT Coach of the '88 Liberty team was Tom Ingles, now head coach at Kentwood. Coach of the '90 Mount Rainier team was Marty Osborn, now at Kentridge.

MORE
Scroll to bottom of page for links to Predicted Finish and League Scouting Report.

Williams led Seamount League rushers with a 12.3-yard-per-carry average, gaining 407 yards in seven games on just 33 carries. He showed his durability in the Lancers' first-round playoff game against Lakes of Tacoma, when Arnold was slowed by injuries, piling up 160 yards on 23 rushes. But it might have been his defensive play against Lindbergh of Renton that put him on the most-wanted list, Bourgette said, describing a hit he put on all-league running back Jessy Hansen.

"His (Hansen's) helmet flew off and everything," Bourgette said. "That was really a collision. One of the recruiters was on the sidelines, and he told me that was one of the finest, hard hits he'd ever seen."

Said senior lineman Mike Hatfield, "When people see him, they think, 'Oh he's not that big,' but he packs a punch. When you're not expecting it, he'll -- bam! -- just hit you with everything he's got."

Williams, 6 feet, 205 pounds, likes to hit, whether it's on offense or defense, and prefers the fullback role to tailback.

"I like the contact," he said. "I like not having a lead blocker and just getting 5 yards or more, or lead blocking for other people to score."

Defense seems to be his forte.

"His knack to find the football is phenomenal," Bourgette said. "And when he gets there, he's usually in a nasty mood. He's one of the best hitters we've ever had around here."

Williams said he likes the free-flowing nature of defense, but doesn't rule out the possibility of playing fullback in college -- especially if he winds up at Washington.

"I think I'll play defense," he said, "but if I went to UW and played with Paul, I'd probably end up in the backfield blocking for him."

Williams said he isn't feeling the pressure of trying to fill Arnold's shoes at Kennedy.

"Our offense is pretty spread out," he said. "We've got a lot of people that can attack teams in different ways. I don't know if I can fill Paul's shoes. I'll try to make the team better so everyone can be at the same level. This summer, everyone worked out and I feel I've got a lot more help. I won't have to carry the team by myself."

Williams missed the first game of the 1998 season while clearing eligibility after transferring from Franklin of Seattle. He said his parents wanted him to attend a private school where his academic progress would be more closely monitored and he chose Kennedy because his cousin, Joey Thomas, was entering his senior year there. At the time, he said, he had forgotten Arnold also went to Kennedy.

Williams soon made sure no one forgot about him.


Background & Related Info.
Seamount League scouting report
How they'll finish
Seamount League football schedules



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