Verified Monte Williams' totals in the article and the caption for the following article:
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
December 24, 2000
Edition: Home; The Atlanta Journal Constitution
AJC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Commerce's Williams: improbable record rusher
Author: Michael Lee; Staff
Commerce tailback Monte Williams chuckles as he begins to describe himself.
"With me," he said, "you should always expect the unexpected."
Take him at his word.
This is the same player who broke former Worth County running back Robert Toomer's state's career rushing record this season twice in the same night. He gained enough yards to break the record, then was thrown for a loss that momentarily took the record out of his hands.
This is the same 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior tailback most teams took for granted at first glance.
But Williams invented ways to make them look silly on his path to the end zone -- switching directions, twisting, spinning and breaking tackles or just blowing by them with his speed. Most of his runs were too complex to explain.
"Ever since we were freshmen, he's made me shake my head," said teammate and friend Michael Collins. "I've seen him run sideline-to-sideline, then hit the middle for a score. I've seen him run backwards, turn around, cut back upfield and score. I've seen him about to fall, balance himself with his hand, get back up and score. But you don't look at it like it's something special. Just know that that's Monte Williams and that's what he does."
Commerce coach Steve Savage has seen enough to know that Williams' self-evaluation is right.
"You never expect anything out of Monte," Savage said. "If you do, you'll limit what you get."
Williams never put a limit on his ability. That's why after four years of making a mockery of defenses, he has the fifth-highest career-rushing total of any running back ever to play high school football in this country, 8,844 yards. He's the only runner in state history to top 8,000 yards.
Williams had 105 career touchdowns, putting him in a tie for the state record with Toomer.
"It's amazing," Williams said. "But you know what I'm thinking? What about the kids who didn't play and had more talent than I did?"
Williams had 275 carries for 2,505 yards and 27 touchdowns this season on a team that Savage said couldn't "throw it a lick."
On Nov. 3, the night he broke Toomer's career mark in Commerce, Williams signed more autographs than he had his whole life. But he was still disappointed, because a state championship was all he cared about.
So Williams finally did something that caught Savage off guard, just before the Tigers met Lincoln County in the semifinals.
"I don't know what he did, stuck his finger in the socket or something," Savage said, jokingly.
Actually, Williams just dyed his hair blond.
"Well, my name, Monte, means 'to shine,' " he said. "So I figured it was my time to shine."
But after three quarters, the shine was looking dull. Lincoln County was holding Williams to the worst performance of his career -- 10 carries, 27 yards. No coincidence, Commerce had yet to get a first down and was trailing 14-3.
"I'm the consummate worrier," Savage said. "But I know you're never out of the ballgame when you've got him."
Then came the fourth period. Or better yet, the unexpected.
Williams carried seven times for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the quarter. The final run, coming with 1:57 left in the game, was a 50-yard touchdown gallop to propel Commerce to a 17-14 victory and its first state final since 1981, the year he was born.
In the Class A championship game against Buford, Williams made it his time to shine. He rushed 28 times for 286 yards, with touchdown runs of 88, 33 and 56 yards. He also caught a 41-yard touchdown pass as Commerce won 27-19.
"I just got in one of those moods," Williams said. "The more you touch me, the more power I get, the more strength. My feet move faster. I wasn't going down."
After the game, Buford coach Dexter Wood said simply, "We couldn't tackle Monte."
He won't have to worry about that anymore.
Williams isn't sure what the future holds. Few Division I schools are looking seriously at him. His size is a concern and he has yet to take the SAT. He may end up at a junior college, he said.
Perhaps somewhere unexpected?
"I'm going to college somewhere," Williams said. "Schools know what they want. If they overlook me, that's OK. Maybe they'll pay for it later."
Photo: In four seasons, Monte Williams has used his elusive, zigzag running style to set the Georgia high school career rushing yardage record with 8,844 yards, the fifth-highest total in U.S. history. / JOEY IVANSCO / Staff
Photo: Every time Commerce's Monte Williams touched the ball, there was the potential for adventure. The AJC player of the year broke tackles, a career rushing record and Buford's hearts on the way to the one thing he wanted most -- a Class A championship.
E13 (teaser) / JENNI GIRTMAN / Staff THIS PHOTO IN METRO ONLY
Copyright 2000 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
I agree with Todd's explanation and as he mentioned this has been a topic of discussion even as recently as a month ago when I was cleaning up some pre-1948 data.
Here's my philosophy -- the Points For and Points Against fields in the database are specifically for recording the on-field score when regulation play stopped, This is almost always the end of a game but it also includes the times a game was called for weather or whatever. If a game was not played, those field should be blank, because the score is not even 0-0 until kickoff.
In essence, this captures the state of the game at the end of regulation play.
A forfeit is an administrative action separate from the game itself (although it may be related to events in the game). The forfeit action is captured in the Forfeit field and it's impact on the record in the WLT field and we typically make a comment as to why the game was forfeited, but the arbitrary 1-0 score has little value, at least to me as a researcher, and often gets in the way of better research.
For example, suppose I'm looking for how many opponents a team has shut out and they have a forfeit in their favor. The 1-0 score is not a sound indicator of their defensive prowess. Instead it's more helpful to see the score at the end of regulation play and then see an annotation that the game was forfeited.
If you're willing to provide some source documents and do a quick write up, I can probably work him in there.
The main obstacle is that none of us are familiar enough with that era to make a judgment on who should be highlighted.
Being selected MVP by the Atlanta Touchdown Club might seem to warrant inclusion, but having the reference to both verify it and to judge his accomplishments goes a long way toward ensuring we're using the same standards Ira used when he compiled the list.