/seasons/2013/contrib/20130717uoir9y

Spartan signal caller reaps competition rewards

More news about: Manchester

A nine-yard run during Nick Williams' freshman season became prophetic for Manchester University football.

Few people, outside of family, friends and Elmhurst High School alums, knew of the Black and Gold signal caller early on. However, speed the calendar to current day, and there are few that don't know of MU's dual-threat quarterback.

"The first two years, I had to be patient," Williams reminisced. "We had a good group of quarterbacks both seasons, but I hoped I would get a chance to play at some point.

"I do remember that first carry, though," he added. "It gave people a chance to see what I can do."

After playing in a combined five games and rushing for just over 100 and throwing for less than 90 yards as a freshman and sophomore, Williams gained the starter's role midway through 2012 with impressive results. He ranked among the top 100 of NCAA Division III in rushing yards per game (89.2 – 91st) and scoring (7.2 ppg – 84th) en route to second team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors.

MU head coach Shannon Griffith contributes some of Williams' success to the competition he had to rise through each season.

"Nick's bided his time, working hard on and off the field," Griffith said. "As a freshman and sophomore, he was one of five quarterback options. Last year, it was a three-man battle throughout camp and then he and (freshman Logan) Haston shared duties through the first four games.

"The biggest reason for giving him the starting duty call was because we didn't have a 30-or-so carry guy in the backfield at the time," he added. "Nick's size and athleticism gave us that ability. It worked out well obviously, as we got on a six-game winning streak to end the year."

The Fort Wayne native has a strong relationship with his coach, a former collegiate quarterback at Ball State University.

"(Coach Griffith and I) talk a lot in practices and during games about what situations are coming up," he said. "I always look to him for the calls, but he has given me some opportunity to survey the  defense and then decide from there if need be."

Williams also credits a stout Spartan offensive line for his success.

"I really like all of the guys that I play with, especially the offensive line," he said. "Without them, none of this would be possible. They do a great job holding blocks up front and then changing what they do on the fly if I take off from the line of scrimmage."

The Spartan quarterback's football and athletic career mirrors his path to the starting duties at MU. He had to make a choice between the gridiron, the pitch and the diamond from middle to high school and then, as a football player at Elmhurst HS, he had to work his way through the ranks to get a quarterback shot, even playing wide receiver for a time.

"When I was in elementary school, it was strictly soccer," he said, looking back. "I didn't get a look at football until middle school, but I liked it right away. They had me in the mix for quarterback early, but they also used me at wide receiver all the way through middle and high school.

"I also enjoyed baseball a lot," he added. "I thought about joining the program (at Manchester University), but I decided to stick with football."

Griffith hopes to see his starter's success continue as a senior.

"He's going to have to continue working like he has his previous three seasons," he said. "Nick was able to make good decisions which led to big plays last year. Hopefully, we'll see similar situations this fall."

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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