Westmoore coach Lorenzo Williams looks young enough that he could still play for his undefeated Jaguars. At only 32, one of the youngest head coaches in Oklahoma, he is quickly turning around the fortune of the school, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A-I, in only his second season at the helm.
Coming off a 6-5 season last year, the positive, quick-talking Williams said he has done it by improving the players’ attitude.
“That’s the only thing a head coach can do,” he said after practice Monday. “I can’t go play for them. I wish I could. If I can get them to believe a little better, to prepare a little better, take it personal a little more, that’s my only job. I have a great coaching staff that does a great job with the Xs and Os.
“We want to get 1 percent better every day. If we do that, the outcome is going to be favorable.”
Westmoore plays host to Broken Arrow in a district game at 7 p.m. Friday. Cox Communications will televise The Ford Game of the Week on YurView and stream it on the YurView.com. Steve Marshall and Deion Imade will be the announcers.
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Williams said team leadership has played a big role in the improved fortunes this season.
“Last year the kids kind of believed they were good, but they really weren’t sure. If they had believed a little early, we probably would have had a better year last year. This year the leadership got started right away.”
A former Midwest City High School standout linebacker, Williams is used to changing things. After high school, he gained 80 pounds and became a nose guard at the University of Missouri and for training camp stints with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers.
As two seasons as head coach of Springfield (Mo.) Central High School, he also changed the team’s fortunes.
“We hadn’t had a winning season in 32 years when we got there. We had a winning season my last year there. I showed I could turn a program around.”
Williams said he was a bit surprised to land the Westmoore job in April 2016.
“I really wasn’t planning on getting a job when I applied for it,” he said. “I came to interview to see what a 6A program was looking for. I was really interested in coaching in a school like this. I got the job. I’ve been grateful to get in and have a lot of success here. The administration has been great to work with.”
Top Tier Talent
Good players also help. The state’s top offensive lineman, Brey Walker, who has committed to the University of Oklahoma, transferred to Westmoore this year from Southmoore. At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, he heads a talented offensive line, which also includes Layne Grantham, Riley Mize, Jorge Exinina and Jarren Hightower.
“It’s really not one guy is the guy,” Williams said. “It’s a group of dudes. They love each other. They take care of each other.”
Running back Garrett King, a 5-11, 230-pound junior, leads a strong running attack. King is coming off an ugly injury suffered at a summer recruiting camp in Memphis in which he dislocated his ankle and broke his leg. He shares running back duties with senior Braxton George.
“When he came back and played in the Southmoore game, he was crying,” Williams said. “He was so excited to be back. Before people were saying he might not ever play again.”
Despite Broken Arrow’s 1-4 record, Williams is expecting a tough game from the Tigers, noting they have lost to some good teams, including Union, Southlake (Texas), Owasso and Jenks.
“They are going to be our toughest match,” he said. “They’ve only won one game, but the way they lost to Jenks last week and had two touchdowns called back. They are just as good as they’ve always been. They are going to be physical.”
The eastern part of Oklahoma, led by Union and Jenks, has dominated 6A football for many years, but Williams said he thinks the West is starting to make some inroads.
“I think Norman North kind of showed a little last year that these guys are getting closer,” he said. “The distance is not as far as it used to be. We’re getting closer and hopefully we’ll get a little closer than they did. But we got to take care of this week first. Broken Arrow is a tough team.”