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James Williams getting his opportunity and running with it

Burbank junior running back makes the most of every carry, although his time has been limited this season on the football field due to the Bulldogs' success.

November 05, 2013|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Tim Berger Staff…)

James Williams has seen limited playing time this season for the Burbank High football team. And the junior running back has contributed to his prolonged stints on the bench.

Williams is determined to make the most of every touch he gets on offense. As a result, the swift-footed ballcarrier has racked up some big performances in the first halves of games this season for the Bulldogs, which has usually led to huge leads by Burbank after the first two quarters. In an effort not to run up the score, Burbank Coach Hector Valencia has pulled his star for almost the entire second half during the majority of the teams' games.

"James is the best player in our league," Valencia said. "He is the best player who doesn't really get to play that much at all."

Admitting that his own success at running the ball is what has prompted his abbreviated playing time, Williams knows he shouldn't be in the game padding his stats late if his Bulldogs have a sizable lead.

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"I actually don't get mad because we have to respect the other team and we just don't want to just keep running at them," Williams said. "I kinda get used to it and I really can't worry too much about that. Sometimes even before games my coach will tell me I have to do what I do in the first half because I probably won't be playing a lot in the second.

"What is good is that we have three other running backs who could go over 100 yards in any game, so that helps."

Williams will probably not be sitting much for the Bulldogs' contest this week. In fact, he is likely to receive his share of carries when Burbank takes on Burroughs at 7 p.m. Friday in the 65th Big Game rivalry clash at Memorial Field.

Although Williams has had limited carries this season, he has definitely made the most of the opportunities he has been given. He has only reached 20 carries once this season and he was able to turn that effort into a school-record 278 yards rushing in a Pacific League game against Crescenta Valley.

With the exception of 17 carries against league-leading Muir, Williams hasn't run the ball more than 10 times in Burbank's other seven games. Those efforts include eight carries against Hoover (117 yards), nine against Arcadia (129), nine against Glendale (142) 10 against Pasadena (110) and 10 against Inglewood (96).

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