Apalachee running back Stanley Williams (13) scores a touchdown on a long run during Friday's game against Barrow.
WINDER -- Apalachee and Winder-Barrow are separated by only seven miles of rolling Barrow County countryside. But a yawning gulf divides the football fortunes of both schools.
A big reason for that is Stanley Williams.
Williams ran wild in the first half, accounting for 252 total yards and five touchdowns as visiting Apalachee (4-5, 4-5 Region 8-AAAA) trounced Winder-Barrow (0-9, 0-9 Region 8-AAAA) 47-0 to capture their fourth straight victory in the "Battle of Barrow" and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
"I felt like I had something to prove, to my team and to everybody," said Williams, a sophomore who verbally committed to the University of Georgia this summer, "credit goes to my offensive line for getting me into the secondary. And I just took care of the rest."
The Wildcats wasted little time establishing control. On the fifth play of the opening drive, Williams took a handoff and weaved off the left side for 17 yards and a TD and quick 7-0 Apalachee lead. Williams capped the next Apalachee possession with a 50-yard TD jaunt to extend the lead to 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
"He's explosive," said Winder-Barrow head coach David Wagner, "there were a few times when I think we got a hand on him. He's a dang good running back, and that's probably the understatement of the year."
But he was just getting warmed up. On the first play of the second quarter, Clint Ashe found Williams in single coverage and connected on a 60-yard TD pass for his third score of the evening. After a 4-yard TD run by Zay Henry extended the lead to 27-0, Ashe again found Williams for a 57-yard TD pass midway through the second quarter. Williams capped his spectacular half by taking an option pitch and racing 48 yards untouched to give the Wildcats an insurmountable 40-0 lead at half.
"I've been very fortunate in my career to be around a lot of great players," Apalachee head coach Shane Davis said of Williams, "back to Grant Miller at Monticello, Tyson Browning at Oconee, and Jon Lee and John Ansley here at Apalachee. I don't know if that was the best performance, but it certainly ranks up there, I do know that."
The Apalachee domination was absolute, as the Wildcats rolled up 352 yards in the first half while holding Winder-Barrow to one total net yard and two first downs.
The Wildcats continued to roll in the second half. Eric Tanner rumbled 64 yards up the middle on the first Apalachee snap of the third quarter for a TD and 47-0 lead. Davis cleared his bench following that score.
"In any level of ball, you get a lead in the first half and you continue to play. In the second half you're not trying to embarrass anyone. You just don't do that," said Davis, "our kids have a lot of class. Coach Wagner has a lot of class and their program has a lot of class."
"Our players have to pull together as a family," said Wagner, "continue to lean on each other and be positive. I told them when you wake up in the morning, put on your Winder-Barrow football shirt and be proud of where you're from. Because that's exactly what I'm going to do."
Williams rushed for 135 yards on 7 carries and three TDs. He also caught two passes for 117 yards and two TDs to lead Apalachee. Eric Tanner also added 113 yards on five carries and a TD for the Wildcats.