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All-Star game first, then MIT football

Prep Focus • Lincoln QB Williams will play two sports but stress academics
by: Christopher Onstott Peter Williams, recent Lincoln High quarterback, plans to compete in football and lacrosse at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Good Will Hunting who? Sure Matt Damon’s character in the 1997 movie went from being a janitor to being recognized as a genius at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But he didn’t have to learn algorithms while playing football and lacrosse the way Peter Williams plans to do at MIT, now that his time at Lincoln High has come to an end. “I’ve seen the movie,” Williams says. “It’s funny, I like it. But, obviously it’s a different situation.” Before Williams heads off to college life in Boston, he will celebrate one final high school moment on Saturday. He will step under center for the North All-Stars during the 64th annual Les Schwab Bowl at 6 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium. “Being able to meet new high school kids who are in pretty much the same situation as me going off to college, it’s a really cool situation and a really cool thing to be in,” Williams says. Williams’ selection to the Oregon prep all-star game is well-deserved. Last season, in his first year as a full-time starting varsity quarterback, he was the PIL offensive player of the year. He led the Cardinals to the Class 6A state quarterfinals. In Lincoln’s pass-heavy offense, Williams completed 255 of 388 throws (66 percent) for 3,454 yards, 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions. “He was very good right out of the box and just kept playing consistently throughout the whole year,” says Cards coach Mike Fanger, who was in his first year at Lincoln. “He was definitely our steadiest piece. His leadership and his ability to will the team to succeed made my job very easy.” Williams isn’t putting too many expectations on the Schwab Bowl, other than that he will have fun. “I want to win,” he says. “I’m just going in with an open mind. I’m going to see what happens. I want to have fun. It’s going to be a great time for everyone involved.” It might seem surprising that any player could play just one season as a starter and do so well. But Fanger says the 6-3, 185-pound Williams had the ability to be a three-year starter; Williams simply had to wait his turn as the backup to another quality quarterback in Henry Furman (now at Yale). When Williams finally got his chance last season, he was ready to seize the moment. “Not starting the years before gave me a huge motivation to make myself better —to become a starter and make sure I had that spot,” Williams says. Williams won’t have to scramble too much to get in football shape for Saturday’s game. He was a critical piece of the Lincoln basketball team that took fourth place in the state tournament last season and played long-stick midfielder on the Cardinal lacrosse team that won its second consecutive state championship this spring. And Williams has continued to throw the football since that season ended. “Basketball and lacrosse have kept me in shape,” he says. “(As for) football shape, I’ve been throwing. Real practice will be a little bit different, but we’ll be able to jump right back into it.” Being a three-sport athlete throughout high school gave Williams the time- management skills he will need to be able to play two sports at an academically rigorous school like MIT. “I’ve taken the hardest classes I can and the most classes I can,” he says. “That’s what’s made my time management so good. That’s going to allow me to play two sports even at a good school like MIT, where there’s going to be a big workload.” Williams hasn’t decided on a major, but he is leaning toward engineering. He says the MIT coaches support his decision to play both sports. “The football coach said tons of people do it there,” Williams says. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to play another sport in the spring and stay in shape and just have fun.” Fanger thinks the MIT football coaches will be surprised by what they are getting with Williams. “He’s going to be outstanding,” Fanger says. “I know he could have played at a higher level. But his priorities are academics and then athletics, and it was a good fit for him at MIT. They’re going to be shocked when he shows up for them and starts slinging the ball around. I’ll bet he’s going to be the guy there.”