The dynamic senior duo at Versailles have a highly productive relationship on the football field that is rewriting the record books at the school and they are likely a significant point of concern for opposing defensive coordinators.
“Coby Williams to Dallas Waller.”
It is a phrase public address announcers and broadcasters have uttered and reporters have typed more than a few times this season in some form or fashion. The dynamic senior duo at Versailles have a highly productive relationship on the football field that is rewriting the record books at the school and they are likely a significant point of concern for opposing defensive coordinators.
In fact, the two have a combined 21 individual records between them and have only had the possibility to be on the field together at the same time for 22 total games dating back to the start of the 2018 season. Versailles is currently enjoying its best passing season in school history with 2,137 yards through the air.
“He just started playing his junior year, but we caught on pretty quickly and it is a pretty good thing we got going on right now,” said Williams, a returning All-State quarterback, discussing the relationship with the receiver.
“Last year he was still kind of learning stuff, learning the game of football a little bit. Now, he has gotten a lot more confident so I don’t think much has changed. He knows the game a lot more now.”
Waller was not exactly a stranger to the game of football, having played in middle school, but the Tigers are sure glad he decided to return.
“He just kind of exploded,” said Versailles coach Broc Silvers who noted that the receiver started to realize his potential as a sophomore after running with some football players in relays on the track and field team
“He saw that he was a good enough athlete to be able to play for us at a high level.”
Even that may be putting it mildly.
In 2018 Waller hauled in 48 receptions for 480 yards and three touchdowns as a junior while also rushing for an additional 116 yards and two scores over a span of 12 games. In just 10 games this season, the senior is currently at 94 receptions for 1,227 yards and 12 touchdowns to go with 38 rushing yards- not that he has needed them.
According to statistics available on maxpreps.com, Waller currently has the third most receptions in the country trailing a pair of receivers with 102, is 39th in receiving yards and 68th in yards per game.
“When they double him we usually have more guys on the team that can catch and they (defenses) realize that so they take off the double coverage and Dallas is one-on-one again,” Williams said of the receiver’s success. “That usually does not work out for most defenses.”
At Versailles, the senior currently holds four of the top five spots in the record books for receiving yards in a single game with the most being 219 yards earlier this year where he also broke his own record for receptions in a single game with 22 against Southern Boone. Unsurprisingly, he also holds the records for single season receptions and receiving yards and Silvers noted that he is not very far away from career receiving yards record as well- despite playing just two years.
The Tigers have had a couple of solid go-to receivers the past couple of years whether it was 2017 graduate Kooper Wilson (57 receptions for 768 yards and five touchdowns) or 2018 graduate Wyatt Espinosa (56 catches for 712 yards and nine touchdowns). Silvers likens the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Waller to a perfect combination of the two in terms of size and speed and noted that Waller’s 40-yard dash time of 4.69 seconds measured by a laser was the fastest time he has seen in 11 years of coaching and teaching.
“He adds a third dimension none of those other guys ever had just from the athleticism. Plus Coby being his senior year, he’s matured a lot, scrambled and knows where his escape routes are,” the coach explained. “When the play breaks down, Dallas has a better feel than most of our receivers on where to get to Coby’s eyes. Not always is it the first read- it may be the second or third on a scramble.”
Waller would prefer to be open before a scramble occurs, though, if he can help it. An initiative he has taken upon himself this season is to run better routes and he pays attention to those who have gone before him.
“I wanted to become a better route runner from day one, kind of like Kooper Wilson,” Waller said. “He was a really good route runner and I watched his film and kind of modeled my routes after him and watched the NFL and how they run them.”
As good as things have gone for Waller, the pigskin does not magically fall in his hands and that is where Williams comes in. A three-year starter at Versailles and the first quarterback to start more than a single season for Silvers in his six years at the school, the dual-threat quarterback has improved every single year.
As a sophomore in 2016, Williams finished with 1,545 passing yards 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 11 games while adding 367 rushing yards and nine scores on the ground. Fast forward to today and the senior is currently at 2,067 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions through 10 games along with 1,227 rushing yards and another 21 rushing scores. Overall, the quarterback has played a role in all but two of the team’s 42 total touchdowns in 2019.
Maxpreps.com currently has Williams listed tied for 34th in rushing touchdowns among all quarterbacks across the country, 54th in rushing yards and 46th in total yards with 3,363.
Ultimately, it is the sign of hard work and Silvers said the senior does not miss a shift.
“Coby, I don’t think, has missed a practice in any sport for actually six years,” the coach said of a senior who also earned All-State honors in basketball last season while also competing at the state track and field meet. “He just does not miss.”
Well, the time put in during practice has also led to plenty of school records being broken.
Through the air Williams currently has the record for passing yards in a single game (352), passing yards in a single season (2,067), passing yards in a career (5,474), passing touchdowns in a game (5), passing touchdowns in a single season (20), career passing touchdowns (49).
On the ground Williams has the record for career rushing carries (563) and career rushing touchdowns (55). He is in the top four for career rushing yards with 3,084 (second), single game rushing carries at 37 (second), season rushing carries at 214 (third), season rushing touchdowns at 21 (third) and season rushing yards at 1,253 (fourth).
Put it all together and he holds the top eight spots for total offense in a single game with the most being 462 yards, the record for total offense in a season (3,365), total offense in a career (8,630 yards), total touchdowns in a season (26), total touchdowns in a career (56), most points in a game (38), most points scored in a season (168) and most points scored in a career (356).
“Definitely been focusing more on learning defenses and how they work, knowing what throws I can make and the right throws pretty much, the right reads,” Williams said of the quest to perfect his craft.
Does he or Waller ever really get tired after all that production?
“Of course not,” Williams quipped with a smile.
Well, track and field season in the spring may have something to do with that. The pair have represented the Tigers in numerous events at the state track and field meet and have competed together in relay events. Being quick enough to be elusive on the gridiron helps, but the two are also well-conditioned and have not spent many snaps on the sidelines.
They are also not alone out on the field as Versailles has three other receivers who have at least crossed the century mark in receiving yards and have at least one receiving touchdown. Throw in an offensive line helping the Tigers to average 375 yards per game.
Silvers treats the offense like a chess board having no hesitation to line up Waller anywhere and create mismatches across the gridiron. When the team runs a spread five-receiver set, he will put four receivers to one side to potentially leave Waller with single coverage. Double up on the receiver and the coach likes his chances on the other side of the field or put more defensive backs on the field and the coach likes his options in the run game with Williams and five linemen against four defenders.
“When you have that good of a quarterback, a receiver like that and other role players who can also hurt you, it is checkmate,” Silvers pointed out.
‘It becomes fun as a coach... But you have to have the offensive line to be able to do all that and those guys right now are playing better and better. When you get to this level in the Class 2 district, it is going to be up to them for us to win this or not.”
The fifth-seeded Tigers head to top seed Fair Grove Friday night to face an unbeaten Eagles team in the district semifinals, hoping to return to the district championship game.
“They are gelling right now and it is fun. I just want to win so we can keep coaching,” Silvers said of his team. “It is not about me. I’m just not ready to be done coaching these guys because of how much fun it has been to draw stuff up, to let them play in space and do some things maybe other teams have not had the ability to do.”
Versailles will look to earn another week of football when the Tigers and Eagles kick off at 7 p.m.