Basha’s Demond Williams coming of age as quarterback The Chandler Arizonan

Basha’s Demond Williams coming of age as quarterback

November 3rd, 2020 Chandler Arizona Staff
Basha’s Demond Williams coming of age as quarterback

By Zach Alvira
Arizonan Sports Editor

Demond Williams Jr. was reluctant to admit he was nervous when he made his first-ever start at the varsity level in the first week of the prep football season.

Though, nobody blamed him, especially when taking into account Williams is only a freshman. Typically, he would be playing amongst his peers at a slower speed than what is typically seen at the varsity level. But Williams, with a football IQ, arm strength and overall athletic ability well-beyond his years, was leaned upon by Chris McDonald and the rest of the Basha varsity coaching staff to step in and lead the offense.

That decision has started to pay off.

“It was a close race going into the season and we felt D offers things really only God gives,” McDonald said. “We knew the kid could throw the ball and we knew he was a good athlete, but we wanted to know how he would react when he gets hit in the mouth.

“He’s resilient. People take shots at him because they’re trying to intimidate him. But he keeps getting up and going right back at them. Every game he has gotten better.”

Basha lost its first two games to Shadow Ridge and Corona del Sol by a combined 14 points, with the offense led by Williams pacing the competition until late in the fourth quarter. Through the first two games, the Bears scored seven touchdowns. Williams accounted for five of them.

Facing Desert Vista in Week 3, Basha’s offense once again clicked. This time, however, they managed to get over the hump and defeat the Thunder 38-24. It was a quiet night for Williams by comparison to weeks past, but he still added another touchdown pass to his stat sheet for the season.

Most importantly, however, Williams further learned how to manage the offense.

“I’ve kind of calmed down now,” Williams said. “I’m becoming more comfortable. Some teams are starting to spy me a little bit for when I get out of the pocket but I kind of approach it like I’m playing 7-on-7 with a line. I just have to find my guys and air it out.”

McDonald’s decision to start Williams at quarterback didn’t come easy. He and junior Josh Sink battled through the summer despite limited to certain exercises and equipment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Once cleared for full contact and “normal” practices, Williams began to separate himself from the competition. But not by much, according to McDonald.

He ultimately made his decision to start Williams just weeks before the start of the season. One of the key components to handing the reigns to Williams was his athletic ability. Not to mention, he had already established chemistry with the veteran leaders on the team throughout the spring and summer on their own at local parks. Despite the difficult decision, McDonald is pleased with how it has worked out thus far.

Especially after notching their first win of the season after two close losses.

“I feel like we are making progress every week,” McDonald said. “We still made some mistakes that we need to fix, and we will, but I’m very happy for these kids and happy for these young guys to get a taste of victory and I hope that stays with them.”

Williams has leaned upon a few of Basha’s veterans to help him adjust to the varsity level.

Senior running back Caleb Jones, who had four total touchdowns against Desert Vista as a two-way starter, and senior athlete Andrell Barney are among those who have taken Williams and several other freshmen who see considerable playing time for Basha this season under their wings.

“I see a lot of heart in them,” Barney said. “For me it’s all about leading by example. In practice I go full speed so Demond can get used to throwing to me and Miles can get used to covering a varsity receiver. It’s helped them get used to things.”

Basha’s youth movement on varsity this season extends well-beyond Williams at quarterback.

Bryson Dedmon has become a staple in the offense at wide receiver while Miles Lockhart has established his presence on defense at corner back and on special teams returning kickoffs.

Additionally, sophomore transfer Wyatt Milkovic will step in at linebacker after a stellar freshman season at Hamilton in which he started in most games during the Huskies’ run to the Open Division semifinals. Milkovic will become eligible in Week 5 of the season.

Williams said he is excited to see what the future holds for this program not only the remainder of this season but in years to come. On a personal level, he holds himself to high standards.

Good friends with former Pinnacle and current Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, Williams has already taken aim at the passing record the Sooner star set during his time in north Phoenix. While surpassing 11,083 total yards passing over a high school career will be a feat in itself, Williams is confident he has not only the ability to do it, but a level of talent around him that will continue to help him make a splash this season at the 6A level.

“I want to break the Basha records first then go after what my guy Spencer Rattler did here in Arizona,” Williams said. “I think I’m on track right now.

“This is the most fun of my life. Just being in this environment, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

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