AURORA – Jackson Willis was still a new kid at Prairie Ridge three avalanche ago aback he came home from academy and fabricated an advertisement to his mother Leisa.
“I adulation this school,” Willis said. “I adulation this team.”
J.D. and Leisa Willis, who had confused to Crystal Lake a few months earlier, were captivated to apprehend their son was so happy.
And while his new accompany and football teammates were authoritative that favorable impression, Willis was reciprocating.
The Wolves adulation him aback … a lot.
Willis ran his area-leading hasty absolute to 1,382 yards Friday night as the Wolves took on Waubonsie Valley in a nonconference d that was abeyant because of lightning. Prairie Ridge (5-1) leads the Warriors (5-1), 14-13, with 9:45 actual in a d that will resume at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Willis has 29 carries for 159 yards. He had 22 rushes and 116 yards by halftime.
Waubonsie Valley had a 10-0 advance afore the Wolves collection to account with 32 abnormal actual in the aboriginal half.
Prairie Ridge addled aboriginal in the additional bisected on Willis’ 24-yard touchdown run. He has been difficult to stop, alike aback opponents apperceive he is now the focal point of Prairie Ridge’s offense.
“He gives 100 percent accomplishment on every distinct play,” accouterment Riley Smith said. “ He’s acutely a guy we can calculation on. In practice, he’s one of the best guys out there. We accept aplomb in him breaking that accouterment and befitting on going.”
Willis played an basic role on aftermost year’s Class 6A accompaniment championship team, alike scoring the aboriginal touchdown in the Wolves’ 28-21 win over Nazareth. With quarterback Samson Evans and active aback Zach Gulbransen both graduated, his workload has added significantly.
“I like it a lot. It’s absolutely different,” Willis said. “It’s consistently fun to get the ball. But at the aforementioned time, it’s consistently fun to be the guy to accept the block to bounce Samson or one of the added backs for a touchdown. I assumption with the acquaintance from aftermost year I was activity to get my touches, but as the advantage runs, you absolutely aloof apprehend the aegis and whatever we’re seeing, that’s who’s activity to get the ball.”
Willis is baby in ability (5-foot-6, 175 pounds) but big on effort. Wolves drillmaster Chris Schremp said he is their fastest amateur and one of their strongest, generally aggressive with the linemen in weight lifting.
“It’s aloof his all-embracing attitude,” Schremp said. “He loves arena football. He’s a guy who absolutely goes out and competes and gives 100 percent on every distinct play. He’s fast, he’s strong, he can cut, he has a little bit of everything.”
Willis said the brotherhood of the Prairie Ridge affairs told him appropriate abroad he was in the appropriate place.
“It was alfresco the football acreage that fabricated it fun on the acreage for me,” he said. “All my brothers absolutely accepting my aback and accepting me with accessible accoutrements aback I came in. It’s absolutely array of developed from that every year.”
Quarterback Connor Lydon enjoys blind about Willis, whether it’s handing off to him in the backfield or it’s abroad from football.
“I adulation Jackson,” Lydon said. “I adulation spending time with him. He’s a abundant kid, has a abundant faculty of humor. He’s addition you appetite to accessory yourself with.”
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