Grice Middle School graduates Cortaz (left) and Coleon Williams, who live right behind Hamilton West, gave their buddies all they could handle by running for 226 yards and four touchdowns in Notre Dame’s 42-14 win over the Hornets at Steinert today (Photo by Rich Fisher).
By Rich Fisher
Sep. 16: If there was ever the perfect illustration of bitter irony, the Hamilton West football team saw it on Saturday.
Prior to the Hornets “home” game with Notre Dame at Steinert, the 1967 Grice Junior High football team was recognized for going 9-0 and outscoring its opponents 214-0. Many of those Gladiators went on to help Hamilton to some great seasons in high school.
Once the game started, however, two products of Grice Middle School did severe damage to the current Hornets program.
Sophomore twin brothers Coleon and Cortaz Williams, who live in the neighborhood behind West, combined for 226 rushing yards and four touchdowns as the Irish defeated Hamilton, 42-14.
Cortaz, who rushed for 237 yards in a season-opening loss to Ewing last week, produced 121 yards and three touchdowns. Coleon had 105 yards and a back-breaking 51-yard TD run to start the second half.
Unlike the players honored before the game, the twins did not play football for Grice because there is no middle school athletic programs in Hamilton. But they definitely walked the halls.
“I went to school with most of them, I know them, they know me,” Coleon said. “It’s fun to play against them.
Asked if there was some good-natured trash-talking, Cortaz said, “just a little bit. It was very personal because they beat us last year for the first time in a long time.”
The twins came up playing Pop Warner football for the Bordentown Bandits and Hamilton Bulldogs. Early on, Coleon was the starting running back on their team but Cortaz took over the role when they turned 13 and rushed for over 1,000 yards. That carried over to high school last season as Cortaz had some big rushing efforts as a freshman starter.
“Taz just happened to be in the position where he was getting the ball more, but Coleon was a nine-game defensive starter last year at defensive back and did some things away from the ball,” Irish coach Marc Lordi said. “They’re two more guys with another year of experience under their belt and I’m really proud of them and the way they’re growing up. They work incredibly hard.”
Coleon was happy to do his part on defense, but isn’t shy about wanting to run the ball.
“It’s pretty fun,” he said with a smile. “I’m not gonna lie.”
The brother tandem hurt the Hornets as much as the Hornets hurt themselves, as mistakes and penalties killed West.
Hamilton (2-1) opened the game impressively, driving from its 19 to ND’s 29 before turning the ball over on downs. From that point, it was Notre Dame’s game.
The Irish responded with a 66-yard drive that was capped by a 5-yard TD run by Cortaz Williams. The score stayed 7-0 until midway through the second quarter, when one of the game’s key plays occurred. On third-and-23 Hamilton stopped ND for a short gain and looked ready to receive a punt and get the ball in good field position. But a late hit out of bounds kept the play alive and ND got a 33-yard touchdown pass from Rob Buecker to Michael Connolly.
On its next series, Hamilton was punting when a bad snap gave the Irish the ball at the Hornet 15, and Cortaz scored shortly thereafter. The next possession produced a fumble that ND recovered at the 11, setting up another Cortaz TD and making it 28-0.
Rather than take a knee in the final 39 seconds, Hamilton stunned the Irish when Hezekiah Patterson found Francis Saydee for a 44-yard completion and Chris Charles for a 9-yard TD pass. But Hamilton lost that momentum after intermission when Coleon Williams made his big TD run on the second play of the second half.
The only other highlight for the Hornets was a 59-yard run by freshman Kevin Boswell that set up his own 1-yard TD run, and a PAT by place kicker Bailey Pazdan. Boswell finished with 98 yards.
While the Hornets have to regroup, the young Irish are feeling good about themselves.
“This boosts us up real good,” Coleon Williams said. “We’ve been to a lot of places over the summer in the off-season, we just came together as a team and today it came together for a win. We definitely didn’t lose confidence last week.”
“I just want to win games and start the season off strong,” Cortaz Williams said. “We had a loss last week, unfortunately, but we just won by a lot today and we have confidence they can’t stop us from running the ball.”
Nottingham victorious on Ring of Honor Day
It was a nice day all the way around for Nottingham, which inducted four worthy candidates into its Ring of Honor prior to defeating Hopewell Valley, 21-7, Saturday for its second straight win.
The pre-game ceremonies honored Yves Terilus; the former QB-to-receiver connection of Esayah Obado and Robert Wiggs, and team photographer Mary Malone, who has also been an invaluable contributor to Fish4scores over the years.
Nottingham’s offense took a while to get started as field goals of 30 and 25 yards by Alix Oge gave the Northstars (2-1) a slim 6-0 lead at halftime.
After intermission, Dionte Nicholson scored on a 33-yard run and Logan Barber found Christian Angelucci for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-0. Nicholson iced the game on an 18-yard touchdown run with 1:45 remaining, and the Bulldogs got a late TD.
Steinert rolls past Lawrence on Friday night
Steinert (2-1) had its second straight strong outing on both sides of the ball, taking a 25-7 win at Lawrence Friday night.
The Spartans showed their offensive depth as four different players found the endzone. Miles Smith caught a 48-yard TD pass from Jordan Morrison (who rushed for 140 yards), Sadequl Ali scored on a 4-yard run, Colin Smith tallied on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and Xavier Thompson scored on a 1-yard run.
Nicole Caruso and Rick “The Voice” Taylor contributed to this wrap-up