Shrine Game showcases local talent

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: January 19, 2009

Javarris Williams

Javarris Williams

HOUSTON – The Annual East-West Shrine game showcased a contingent of local talent that made their presence felt in the 84th annual game held at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus.

Over 110 players participated in the game with 21 of them coming from the state of Texas, and eight of those from the Greater Houston area. Former Foster High School and Tennessee State running back Javarris Williams made the most of his return trip home, as he rushed from 56 yards and a touchdown in the final minutes to seal a 24-19 victory for the East in front of a crowd of 15,387.

Williams, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound back, scored on a 3-yard run to give the East a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. Later, with the East facing a third-and-6 at the 11-yard line, he found a hole and sprinted 16 yards for a first down, that killed any chance of the West squad coming back to win.

“I had a chip on my shoulder all week long,” Williams said. “I wanted to show the scouts to not count me out because they thought that I was too small.”

“I’m from a Division I-AA school, that has lesser competition. I had to run hard, catch everything thrown to me and show them that I could play.”

Williams rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his last three seasons at Tennessee State, a Football Championship Subdivision program. He’s the school’s second all-time career rusher (4,329) and the career leader in rushing touchdowns (42).

In 2008, he rushed for 1,037 yards and 15 touchdowns and was named the >Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He was also named to the American Football Coaches Association FCSAll-America first team.

Other Texas natives who participated in the game included: Ryan Palmer-Texas, Darcel McBath-Texas Tech, Mike Thomas-Arizona, Jorvorskie Lane-Texas A & M, Stephen McGee-Texas A & M, Ryan Mouton-Hawaii, Lendy Holmes-Oklahoma, Aaron Brown-TCU, Jason Phillips-TCU, Phillip Hunt-Houston, Louis Vasquez-Texas Tech, Cedric Dockery-Texas, Jarrett Dillard-Rice, Mark Hafner-Houston,Michael Bennett-Texas A & M, Roy Miller-Texas, Chase Daniel-Missouri, Collin Mooney-Army, Robert Francois-Boston College, Stryker Sulak-Missouri, and Anthony Hill-North Carolina State.

Rice All-American wide receiver Jarett Dillard scored a 35-yard touchdown with 14:07 left in the fourth quarter. Dillard finished with 3 catches for 51 yards. Conference USA-rival and University of Houston tight end Mark Hafner had 3 catches for 37 yards. Texas A & M defensive lineman Michael Bennett,from Alief Elsik, is the younger brother of Dallas Cowboys tight end Marcellus Bennett.