Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'D' Difference Maker for Baker

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'D' Difference Maker for Baker

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

That Baker County has begun the football season 2-0 is little surprise from a team that went 8-2 with a district championship last season. That the Wildcats have done it primarily with defense is far more unlikely.

Two weeks into the season, Super 11 running back Kelly Williams has the same number of yards as his jersey number -- 24 -- and has missed more quarters than he has played, thanks to an ankle sprain. Quarterback Kris Linster, with one of the best throwing arms in the area, was just 3 for 9 in the season opener and has yet to throw for 100 yards or more in a game.

Penalties and turnovers also have contributed to the sputtering of one of the area's top offensive engines.

Friday night, coach Carl West's team posted just 14 points against a Fort White defense that allowed 34 the previous week. But with its offensive playmakers still groping for answers, the Wildcats remain unbeaten.

"It's been sort of a reversal," West said. "The defense has been toting us at times, but I think we're close to clicking on offense."

Williams' return to the lineup this week should help immensely. West said his star rusher could have played against Fort White, but he chose to rest him an extra week in anticipation of this week's district opener against Forrest.

"No use risking it in a non-district game," West said. "This week, he should be 90, 95 percent."

Williams, now 977 yards short of his father's school record for career rushing, is seeking his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. As for Linster, West said the junior signal-caller has played better than box scores have indicated.

"We've dropped some pretty good passes, for one thing, and we've allowed too much pressure on him," West said. "He's underthrown and overthrown a few, but we've got to play better around him, too."

NEW FACILITY -- Area youth baseball players and teams have a new option for offseason practice. …

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