Streaking Pirates look to slow down Williams, Pioneers
Kaden Williams’ past four weeks won’t soon be forgotten.
In just four games since Providence started 0-3, the sophomore sensation has rushed for 971 yards and 13 touchdowns – solid regular-season numbers for most – to help guide the Pioneers to a four-game win streak. He’s found the end zone 14 times and has 1,187 rushing yards under his belt this season.
Williams rushed for 572 yards and eight touchdowns in the past two weeks alone – 273 and three scores in a 36-33 upset of Jeffersonville and 299 yards and five touchdowns in a 35-8 rout of Mitchell.
The Pioneers’ offensive line has played soundly over the four-game span, too, coach Larry Denison said, allowing Williams to display his gaudy athleticism.
“The offensive line is doing a good job of creating seams and creating holes for him,” Denison said. “Kaden just uses his natural talent and God-given ability. He’s very talented. If the line continues to block the way they have been, Kaden can keep doing what he’s doing.”
Class 2A No. 16 Providence’s streak will be in jeopardy on Friday as it travels to 3A No. 14 Charlestown (6-1, 5-1 Mid-Southern).
The Pirates have rattled off five straight wins and sit 18th in the country in total yards (3,437) and points scored (338). Those totals rank fifth and seventh, respectively, in the state.
READ MORE: Week 8 high school football picks, previews
Charlestown’s defense has been stout as well, holding opponents to under 20 points per game. Coach Jason Hawkins knows his defensive unit – led by senior Bradley Laffoon, who has 73 total tackles, nine for loss, and three sacks – will have its hands full if Williams gets to his spots on Friday.
“Kaden is fast – really fast,” Hawkins said. “We’re going to try to keep him in the box and not let him get outside. If we do, we’re scared that we’re going to be chasing him.”
On the flip side, Providence’s defense is one the Pirates have yet to see this season, according to Hawkins. The Pioneers’ blitzing schemes will present “a challenge” for senior quarterback Brendan Lawler and Charlestown’s talented backfield, made up of seniors Antonyo Gaddie and Anthony Malone.
Early miscues, Hawkins said, have slowed down Charlestown’s potent offensive attack in the past three games. The Pirates trailed at halftime against Silver Creek and Salem – albeit by a combined four points – and only led Corydon 12-7 at the break, but Charlestown’s second halves have been more than enough to extend its streak.
Lawler has thrown for 917 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 660 yards and eight scores on the ground. Malone, a Jeffersonville transfer, leads the Pirates with 754 yards and 12 touchdowns. Gaddie, who’s nursed a minor injury in recent weeks, “should be 100 percent,” according to Hawkins. He’s rushed for 633 yards and nine touchdowns.
“They’ve got one of the best teams they’ve ever had there,” Denison said. “They’re very explosive. Offensively, they’ve got a lot of weapons back there in the backfield. … They’re very balanced. They can run the ball. They can throw the ball. We’re going to have to play our best game to beat them.”
Providence leads the all-time series with Charlestown 24-6, but Hawkins owns four of the six wins for the Pirates since he arrived in 2007. He’s 4-4 against the Pioneers in his career.
“They’re a good football team. They play all the big schools,” Hawkins said. “Their record looks a little different because of that. They’ve been competitive all year. They’ve won some games against some good teams. We’re going to have to play well.”
Game of the Week
What: Providence at Charlestown
When: 7 p.m.
Records: Charlestown (6-1, 5-1), Providence (4-3)
Rankings: Charlestown No. 14 in 3A AP poll; Providence No. 16 in 2A AP poll
Last week: Charlestown W (34-7 Corydon), Providence W (35-8 Mitchell)
Last meeting: Charlestown, 25-0 (Oct. 9, 2015)
The pick: Charlestown, 36-21