FAIRFIELD — Dion Williams made a name for himself catching footballs as a receiver for the Vanden HIgh football team this fall, arguably doing it better than anyone else in city history.
Yet his biggest catch of the season came when he was playing defense. His 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter secured the Vikings’ 39-37 victory over Vista del Lago in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
For his efforts, on both the offense and defensive ends in football as well for helping the Vanden boys track team win the Solano County Athletic Conference crown in the spring, Williams in the Daily Republic’s 2013 Male Athlete of the Year.
“I don’t really like to compare him to all the other receivers we’ve had because we’ve had some great ones come through,” Vanden coach LeVon Haynes said midway through the season. “He is up there with them by far.”
By the end of the season, he’d left a talented group of predecessors in the dust.
Williams finished the season with 87 catches, including 24 for touchdowns, both city records. He also amassed a school-record 1,261 receiving yards.
The senior did it with consistency, catching no fewer than five passes in every game, eight or more in six and a school-record 11 twice. He also did it often with two or three defenders around him.
“He catches the ball, he makes yards after the catch,” Haynes said. “He makes fantastic catches. He makes hard ones look easy. He’s just a special, special football player.”
Williams was quarterback Jadon Brisdendine’s go-to guy near the end zone, catching at least one TD pass in every game, tying a school record with three on four different occasions.
“Almost every year someone breaks a receiving record,” Haynes said. “That’s a good thing. It gives guys something to shoot for. It’s something they talk about breaking.”
But it’s something Williams doesn’t like to talk about.
“I don’t try to compare myself with them,” he said. “I try to use them as something to shoot for. . . . They were great. I’m just trying to be greater.”
Williams also sparkled on defense, topping the team and tying for the area lead with six interceptions as the free safety.
Last spring, Williams helped the Vikings’ boys track team win the Solano County Athletic Conference title, finishing second in the 110-yard high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles, third in the triple jump.
“He’s just a special individual,” Haynes said.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.