Schuck's Clipboard

Williams' legacy is football, family and electric personality

Posted: Sep. 29, 2020 12:10 am Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 12:52 pm

Electric Wentric.

In so many ways, it was the perfect nickname.

It made for the perfect headline, too.

In 2001, after a record-setting career in which he led the Hannibal football program to previously unmatched success, Wentric Williams II was named the Herald-Whig Player of the Year and "Electric Wentric" jumped off the front page of that Sunday edition.

The honor and the nickname were earned on the field, but the electricity surrounding him existed off the field, too. Williams' leadership and his will to win were as tantalizing as his touchdown runs. Those who shared the field, the sideline and the locker room with him saw that every day.

Those who weren't part of that era, who never witnessed him run through or away from a defender, who didn't hear the way he bragged about his teammates and humbly talked about himself still saw the electric side of Williams.

It revealed itself in fatherhood as he and his wife, Ashley, were blessed with six children. It was unveiled as a coach of youth sports, teaching the values of teamwork, dedication and joy to another generation. And it lit up any room he entered, thanks to a million-watt smile and genuine, good-hearted demeanor.

Such electricity hardly fades.

In this case, it never will.

His legacy -- the record numbers he posted at Hannibal and those six children who share his name and his soul -- will forever be strong even after his tragic passing. Williams unexpectedly died Saturday in Liberty, Mo., just 37 years old.

It came a day after his oldest son, Wentric Williams III, rushed for five touchdowns in Liberty's 42-13 victory over Blue Springs South as the Blue Jays improved to 5-0. He saw his fifth-grade son score a touchdown Saturday in a game he helped coach before his sudden passing.

Football, success and family was always part of his DNA.

Williams remains Hannibal's single-game and single-season rushing record holder with 386 yards against Mexico and 2,627 yards total his junior season. He is second in career rushing with 4,723 yards, a mark eclipsed by Shamar Griffith in 2016.

And in 2001, as a senior, Williams helped Hannibal reach the state semifinals for the first time in program history. That came on the heels of a state quarterfinal berth in 2000, the furthest the Pirates had advanced at that point since 1987. Williams scored 55 touchdowns in those two seasons combined.

It's not surprising the Pirates went 21-4 in that span.

The fact it had so much more to do with Williams' spirit than his ability is what truly set him apart.

"I wanted to be a good example for the younger kids," Williams said as his high school career closed. "I want them to do good. I hope they carry on the tradition."

They have and they will.

And it will be electric thanks to Wentric.