The St. Vincent-St. Mary football team is in the midst of an 18-game winning streak and attempting to win its second consecutive Division III state championship.
St. V-M features several talented players, and two of them — seniors Newman Williams and Travonte Junius — just might be staying in Akron for college.
Williams and Junius said they received scholarship offers from University of Akron defensive coordinator Chuck Amato on Monday night.
“Akron offered both of them,” St. V-M coach Dan Boarman said. “That is big. I appreciate coach [Terry] Bowden and the staff for their trust in what we believe these kids can do for that program. I think they will be an asset to Akron [if they sign].”
Junius and Williams are already assets for St. V-M (12-0), which will meet Hubbard (12-0) at 7:30 Friday night in the Division III, Region 7 final at Ravenna’s Gilcrest Field.
Junius, who is 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, plays as a defensive lineman for St. V-M. His key attribute is his speed.
“I feel like I am getting respect for what I do and people are actually starting to realize what I can do,” Junius said. “I have one offer right now. Akron is a big position I could take. I am thinking about doing it, but I am still not sure. I am not going to wait too long. Akron could be a place I will go. I am really excited about this.”
Junius said UA has talked to him about also playing linebacker.
Williams, who is 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, is a linebacker who also uses his strength as a fullback alongside senior running back and Ohio State recruit Parris Campbell Jr.
“I am waiting right now, but I am kind of leaning towards Akron,” Williams said. “I have been there a couple of times and I really enjoyed myself while I was there. I like the coaches that I talked to and the people that are with the team.”
The St. V-M team is currently on a roll and finds itself just three wins shy of another title.
“This has been a great year knowing that we a have team capable of repeating as state champions,” Williams said. “We are all close as a family, even the coaches, too.”
Irish senior linebacker and Ohio State recruit Dante Booker Jr. said he is glad Junius and Williams are on his side.
“Travonte is a really funny guy to be around,” Booker said. “He is a nice guy and friends with everyone. When he makes a play, we all get excited. We are just really good friends on this team. Newman is the same way. He is a good guy. It is real awesome to play next to a guy that good. I know that if I make a mistake I always know he’s got my back. He has got the next gap to make a tackle and I always know he’s got my back out there.”
St. V-M defensive coordinator Marcus Wattley is like a kid in a candy store coaching a unit with so much speed and strength.
“Travonte brings a game-changing element,” Wattley said. “He is [185 pounds] and has been clocked at a 4.4 [seconds] 40 [-yard dash]. How many defensive lineman in high school run that? He has tipped four passes that we have picked off and he has two touchdowns on his own. Of all the playmakers we have on defense, he stands up there at the top. He is a guy that we look to in passing situations that can win one-on-ones. The attention he gets frees up a lot of other guys.
“Newman brings such a leadership role. He is the quarterback of the defense and has been the past two years. He is in charge of all the checks, adjustments and getting all the guys lined up. It’s one thing to be consistent, it is another thing to be consistently good. That is what Newman is. He is a two-way player and a game-changer. It seems like when there is a play that needs to be made, Newman somehow finds a way to do it, whether it is an interception or a big hit. He is the extension off me on the field so I tell him, ‘I hold you accountable for everything that goes on out there.’ ”
Boarman said whatever college gets Junius and Williams will be happy.
“Newman does so many things for our team,” Boarman said. “His defense speaks for itself. He is our Mike [linebacker]. He calls our defense and he fills in the middle. We have been a pretty successful team against the run and he has a lot to do with that.
“Character-wise I couldn’t ask for a better person. In fact, both Newman and Travonte are both great character people. They are people you like being around. Travonte is kind of funny and has a great sense of humor. He is another young man who has a great future ahead of him in football. He does so many freakish things for us.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.