By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Underneath Donavan Williams' eyes was a message - RIP John.
The familiar eye block has become a way for many football players to express themselves of late. Friday, Williams wanted to show how much he missed his step dad - John Johnson. If somewhere Johnson got the message and was looking down on him, he would have been proud.
It was just Williams' night and Austin High simply had no way to stop him. Not early, not late and not ever.
Williams scored three touchdowns, ran for 152 yards on only 12 carries and had another 37 yards receiving as Belton thrashed the Maroons 58-14 at Tiger Field.
"We have just been working hard all summer and a lot of people think we can't (win), but all we can do is prove them wrong and (win)," Williams said. "We came out today … and we proved them wrong."
Williams' first score of the night came with Belton (2-0) already ahead 16-0.
The Tigers had scored already on a 26-yard pass from Peter Shelburne to Darius Ewing and a 6-yard run by Kyle Rhoads, who had the game- winning score last week over Richmond Foster. Stephen St. John caused a fumble in the end zone as Austin High continued to self-destruct. After the safety, Belton got the ball on the Maroons 41.
It only took one play to score.
Williams shredded tacklers and went down the sideline for the touchdown.
"It felt great. I am not the type of dude who makes big runs," Williams said. "I've just been working hard all summer and it paid off."
After another Austin High three and out - with a penalty or two thrown in - Belton scored again.
This time, Williams scored on Belton's second play, taking it 62 yards and juking out the last defender at the 35-yard line en route to his second touchdown.
"I don't know (what I did), I was just running for the touchdown," Williams said with a smile. "It just came and I don't know what happened. Everyone just talked to me about it when I came to the sideline."
Austin High's offense finally came alive, getting the ball to wide receiver and Texas commit Cayleb Jones. Jones, who finished the game with seven catches for 112 yards, caught two passes for 53 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown dive to finally put the Maroons on the scoreboard with 8:35 left in the second quarter.
"I think we rushed the ball well and our coaches did a plan on containing (Jones). And a couple of times it didn't work, but it worked more often than not," Southern said.
The Maroons' next scoring drive was capped off with a 2-yard run by quarterback Michael Clawson.
The Austin High comeback ended there. With only 31 seconds left in the half, Shelburne connected twice with Derick Bates, who had four catches for 139 yards, to put the Tigers inside the 10 with six seconds left. Instead of kicking the field goal, Belton went for the kill.
And got it. Shelburne hit Williams on a wheel route out of the backfield for a 14-yard touchdown pass for a 36-14 lead.
It only got worse from there. Rhoads started the second half with a kick return that would have given the Tigers the ball inside the Maroon 30. It was called back by offsetting penalties - Belton was penalized 13 times for 106 yards. However, he faked a reverse on the re-kick and turned it up field for a 95-yard return.
"At first I was thinking I was real tired, but they kicked it to me again … and I saw what was coming and I took off," Rhoads said. "In the end, I was glad we got another chance."
With 8:28 left in the third, Shelburne, who finished 8-of-10 passing for 202 yards, found Bates wide open in the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown. Then early in the fourth quarter, with the game out of hand, backup quarterback Blayten Magana put the finishing touches on the rout with a 3-yard dive for a score.
"Obviously, if you put up 58 offensively it is hard to complain," Southern laughed. "We will find something bad on film, but most of it will be pretty good, I hope."
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569