Jordan Williams is embracing a role he never wanted on the Rocky Mountain High School football team.
He’s the hype man.
He’s on the sideline every game, screaming, yelling and getting his teammates fired up.
And even though he loves helping, part of him is miserable.
He should be on the field chasing his dreams of earning a Division I football scholarship, all-state honors and helping his team win games.
But Williams isn’t because he tore his ACL in a scrimmage the week before the season opener, erasing his senior year.
“Life literally doesn’t even feel real. I feel like I’m about to get ready to go out there (Friday), but it’s just not going to happen,” Williams said. “That’s what my life was every day. It’s a shock. I’m still in shock every Friday night when I’m standing on the sideline, like ‘dang, what the heck?’”
At 7 p.m. Friday, Williams, teammate Tyreese Adler and Poudre quarterback Troy McFadden will all sit the sidelines with the same season-ending injury while the Lobos (0-3) and Impalas (2-2) battle at French Field.
While devastating, Adler (sophomore) and McFadden (junior) still have high school games left.
Williams’ high school career is over.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver was primed for a big season. As a junior in 2015, he had 200 receiving yards on 14 catches, and a total of 589 return yards, taking a punt back for a touchdown.
He was named all-conference. It was an eye-opener for him after moving from a small school in Pennsylvania as a sophomore when he realized he was a dangerous player at the highest level of high school football in Colorado.
He spent the summer working to get a college scholarship. He says he spent more than $1,000 of his own money going to camps at the University of Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Colorado Mesa and the All-Poly camp in Utah.
Williams didn’t have any official offers entering the season but plenty of interested coaches were waiting for his mid-season highlight reel.
FOCO STANDOUTS: High school football stat leaders
He still plans to play college football. He knows a Division I scholarship is probably out the window, so he’s hoping for a chance to play football at even the lowest college level before climbing his way up by transferring. All he knows is he hasn’t played his last football game.
Before the injury, he was going to be an every-down player. Williams said he had formed a special bond with quarterback Tyler Hyland and he was going to be featured as a receiver and a threat on reverses. He expected to play defense and couldn’t wait to hit people for the first time since moving from Pennsylvania. And there was always the chance to shine returning kicks and punts.
Then during the opening kickoff of a scrimmage against Legacy, he was hit as he planted his foot. Trainer Kate Vardiman examined his right knee and shook her head. She didn’t have to say anything; he knew.
“It was like something got ripped out of my heart; like I lost somebody,” Williams said. “That’s how emotional it made me for a little.”
For about a week, he was inconsolable. He sulked with a hood over his head and his grades suffered.
But almost as quickly as he fell apart, he bounced back. Within two weeks, his beaming smile returned and he was back to being the joker and everybody’s best friend on the team.
He’s taken a role as an honorary coach, watching more film than ever before to help boost his teammates.
He’ll have surgery in the next couple of weeks and start to rehab. Until then, he can’t help think about what could have been while he’s cheering from the sideline.
“It’s unreal, feeling like you can’t be there to help out more. It’s just horrible,” Williams said. “To get through that, I yell my butt off and get my team hyped. If any of them have their mouth shut, I’m smacking them on the helmet. They better be on their feet ready to go. I tell them, ‘you realize how lucky you are to be out there?’”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
Rocky Mountain vs. Poudre, 7 p.m. Friday at French Field
Twitter updates: @Kevin_Lytle
Traffic note: The intersection of Drake and Shields will close for the weekend at 8 p.m. Friday.