Sto-Rox quarterback Williams seeks elusive title to cement legacy
One last chance.
That's how Sto-Rox record-setting quarterback Lenny Williams is looking at Saturday's WPIAL Class A championship against Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (12-0) at 11 a.m. at Heinz Field.
Williams, the WPIAL all-time leader with 8,306 career passing yards, has made two previous trips to Heinz Field and came up empty, each time stifled by Clairton amidst its run of five consecutive WPIAL titles.
After taking down the Bears in the semifinals, it is the top-seeded 12-0 Vikings' turn to play the favorites as they chase an elusive championship, which would be the school's first since 1987.
Williams, a Temple recruit, wants to leave a legacy more like Peyton Manning than Dan Marino, as in having a championship to go with the eye-popping statistics.
He is the first WPIAL player to amass 10,000 yards of offense and the first to throw for more than 8,000. His 102 career touchdown passes are good for fourth most in PIAA history, and he has the fifth-most passing yards in state history. He is the WPIAL all-time leader in completions, attempts, touchdowns and yards.
Yet something is missing.
“For me, this title (game) means everything,” Williams said. “Everything I've done without this title would be for nothing. I won a lot of games, and have been able to get my teams to the championship for a couple years now, but we haven't won it. If we get that win, it won't just be a legacy for myself, because I never take anything like that. It's for my whole team; my legacy is their legacy.”
Sto-Rox coach Dan Bradley believes Williams' legacy is set. He said no matter what happens Saturday, it will not take away all those pinpoint throws and victories.
However, it would add another chapter to his story.
“The legacy he's going to leave isn't through one game,” Bradley said. “It's career stats, career numbers. I think (a title) would be an exclamation point at the end of the Lenny Williams legacy.”
The No. 2 seed Trojans are playing in their first WPIAL title game. Last season, Williams threw four TDs to knock North Catholic out in the semifinals.
Williams, who has thrown for 2,506 yards and 34 scores, hopes the third time is a charm.
After getting thumped by Clairton, 58-21, in 2012 and 42-6 in 2011, he wondered if he would get another chance at a title.
“It feels good to get another shot at the championship,” he said.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.