Williams helps JSerra keep moving


MISSION VIEJO – In his first year for JSerra, Avery Williams was asked to replace a player with one of the highest ceilings in the county.

Three games into his senior season, Williams has wasted no time helping Lions fans move past the loss of All-County running back Edward Vander.

Williams weaved his way out of tackles to the tune of 130 rushing yards as No. 5 JSerra defeated Huntington Beach, 39-8, Friday night in a nonleague game at Saddleback College.

The senior transfer from St. Francis of La Canada led off the game with a 50-yard return of the opening kickoff, and a later return touchdown was nullified by a penalty. His power running and returning set up drives and opened up the passing game for the Lions.

“We had to come out hard and put the pressure on them,” Williams said. “(Our start to the season) is strong. Everyone on this team can improve, so we’re just looking toward the Trinity League.”

With the Oilers (1-2) trying to limit Williams’ impact, JSerra quarterbacks Riley O’Brien and Matthew Robinson took advantage. O’Brien threw a pair of 45-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, sending the Lions (3-0) to a 12-0 lead. O’Brien’s brother, Conor, and Nathan Bowman were the recipients.

Robinson spelled O’Brien on the first series of the second quarter. After Williams opened the drive with a long gain, Robinson sprinted for 24 yards. He then threw a flare to Bowman, who reversed field from his slot on the right side, finally ending up at the left pylon for a 20-yard score.

Huntington Beach running back Hunter Simmons was removed from the game after aggravating a hip flexor injury in the first quarter. Trailing 19-0 in the second quarter, the Oilers turned to Moses Turner to carry the offense, and they found themselves in the red zone following a fourth-down conversion. On third-and-goal, quarterback Kobee Lagarde put the ball in the hands of tight end Liam Jimmons, but the senior failed to catch it or score.

JSerra capitalized for a 14-point swing when Chris Mitchell ran 40 yards for a touchdown.

As indicated by the platoon, the Lions’ quarterback battle is not yet decided.

“Both guys are weapons,” JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said. “Both guys do good things. Both need to improve.

“As of now, we’re going to continue down that road until someone really separates themselves.”

Turner finished with 161 yards, including the lone touchdown for the Oilers. Mitchel Anderson added 58 rushing yards.

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