Head coach: Larry Martin
2020 record: (North did not have a 2020 season)
Season rewind: “I’ve been a part of football, if you just count on coaching, for 31 years. That doesn’t count the years I played and coached when I was younger, and what have you. It was tough. Your initial reaction is, for me, is that you could be upset, you could be disappointed, and things like that, but as I reflect back on it, my immediate reaction was to make sure that we took care of our players. As I’ve looked at it, it’s just a correlation to life. You got to be able to handle adversity.
Just like I’ve talked to our players for multiple years, that decisions are made. We can’t control every decision that’s made. We’ve got to just live with it and move forward. Some of our coaches on our staff took it as a reset year. We’ve coached a lot of football games in the last 10 years. I took advantage of it to go out and just get some professional development out with Coach Jeff Jamrog in Midland in Fremont. I went out there on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and got some professional development that I was never able to do, and then I went to all eight of his football games.
“It’s been tough. You feel for the kids. They put in a lot of work and a lot of time and stuff like that. I’ve been proud of our kids. We’re in that process right now of, obviously, getting them back into school, and really making sure and focusing in on the academic piece of it, and trying to really reestablish those routines.”
Martin on ATH KeShaun Williams: “He attacks the football just like some of the elite receivers that we’ve had. He is not afraid to go up and get the ball; the game slows down for him when that ball is in the air, and it’s impressive to watch. He attacks the football. Reminds me a lot of Niles Paul, the way that he went up and attacked that ball and would take it away from other people.
“Offensively, he’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing. He’s got to be patient with that; we got to be patient about that. I remember when Niles was a senior, teams would triple-team him, they’d have a guy inside him, under him and over him, and we’d have to go away from him for a little bit and then come back to him. We’ve got to be able to recognize all that, and then, the defensive side of the ball, we need to figure that out. We’ve played him in about two or three different positions, and we need to get out there and watch him move around again and see where the strengths are.
“Also, as high school coaches, we can’t just play him at one– or not play him, but we got to figure out, put a package together, where it’s a linebacker, a DB, and a corner, or a safety and a corner together and put the three best players out there that we can. He gives us that versatility because he really could play an outside linebacker, he could play a safety, or play corner, which he’s played most of all those positions for us. Anyway, it’s just more about getting him out there, getting him in front of the coaches, getting him acclimated, and getting him going.”
Williams take: “Once Corona hit and we didn’t have a season, I was going to First Pick Training Center every weekend with one of my other coaches, Thomas Liechti, he was taking me and about two other kids out there. We did our best to stay in condition and work out throughout the summer in the quarantine period. Once the restrictions got lifted, we were just non-stop trying to get it. We used to go to Westside and get field sessions in just to try to stay in shape and just stay right mentally and physically.
“I’ve been around North since, I can say, I was probably in fifth, sixth grade with Calvin Strong and then my brother was on varsity as a sophomore and stuff. I just always loved the program and always wanted to be a Viking, so just got to stay loyal with the soil and just stick it out.
“Offensively on that side of the ball, I can say I’m really a playmaker, on defense too, I’m really a playmaker. I can make plays happen. I’m really good at reading coverages and reading in the quarterback and just recognizing a lot of things. I could say my strength on defense would probably be tackling and just respecting coverages and players and knowing people’s strengths.”
Recruiting: Williams is being recruited by Nebraska, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. He also recently jumped a 37.5 inch vertical.
“A lot of teams want me at receiver, some at linebacker and some as DB,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of coaches that just come and may just recruit me as an athlete.”
Notable: Williams’s older brother Zion Williams is a scholarship defensive back at Troy. He played at Iowa Western and Omaha North before landing with the Trojans.