Success was limited for the Okemos football team last fall.
And that didn’t sit well with Dalis Williams.
Bouncing back from last year’s one-win season has been a top priority this year for the senior running back/defensive back and the Chiefs.
And despite being bothered by an ankle injury, Williams has found a way to help Okemos experience some early season success.
Williams has rushed for just over 200 yards this fall and was among the contributors for the Chiefs in their 30-6 victory over Michigan State recruit Hunter Rison and Ann Arbor Skyline last week. He ran for 125 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown in that victory while helping Okemos (1-1) match last year’s win total and gain momentum heading into Friday’s CAAC Blue opener against Everett (0-2).
“I just try to do what’s best for my team and try to get the (win),” Williams said. “My adrenaline took over and I couldn’t even really feel (my ankle pain). I was just focused on getting that win and trying to do what’s best for my teammates.”
Okemos coach Jack Wallace said Williams, who is receiving college interest from Mid-American Conference and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference programs, has set a positive example and been a leader for his Chiefs program that is trying to compete for a CAAC Blue title and get into the state playoffs for a second time in three years.
“Dalis is a competitor. He works as hard as anybody,” Wallace said. “Right now he’s not 100 percent. He got banged up in one of our scrimmages. These first two weeks I’m amazed that he’s out there doing the things he’s done already to be very honest with you. The last two Thursdays he’s played extremely hard. He’s been playing hurt and the kids see it and respect it. He’s a team leader and he gets them going.
“Obviously he was one of our leaders from last year. He was one when we got done with the season last year that was so frustrated and disappointed in how our season went, and he was going to do something about that. He has through the example that he sets.”
The 6-foot, 181-pound Williams, who ran for 1,043 yards last fall, has fought through his tender ankle to make some key plays, including picking up a key first down on a third and short when last week’s contest with Skyline was still close, Williams said.
“We didn’t block that play particularly well and I think he got four yards on that play,” Wallace said. “It was all on his toughness that got us those yards. I think that toughness part of it and obviously his speed (are key assets).
“It’s that speed, vision and toughness all together that makes him a pretty effective running back.”
Williams has contributed on defense as well and he’s helped the Chief defense surrender just 13 points through the season’s first two weeks.
Williams is ready to use his skills to help Okemos try to keep the momentum from its Week 2 win going over the next seven weeks in CAAC Blue play.
“(That win) was a good feeling and we’re just looking to continue to do that,” Williams said.
“We just had more heart and we just wanted it more (last week). I think (that win is) going to carry us a long way throughout the season. It just feels a lot different. We’re just looking great this year.”