East Xtra: Gateway grad gives Colts a lift

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His 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame may not be an indication, but Pittsburgh Colts running back/wide receiver Dave Williams is not afraid to run routes across the middle or run the ball inside the tackle.

Now in his second season with the team, Williams is one of the top playmakers on the Colts, a local semipro football team.

"He can make people miss and he is physical, too," Pittsburgh Colts coach and owner Ed Brosky said. "When I use him as a running back we run inside traps, inside the tackle. Dave is very effective at checking through the line [while running a route] and getting past the linebacker. He will run off tackle, he will run inside, he is a good running back and receiver for us."

During one play this season, the 25-year-old Williams slipped past the defensive line and linebackers on a route and caught a pass over the middle and ran 40 yards down the field before a safety caught him. He has the ability to catch bubble screens and turn them into a 45-yard gain and to return a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, both of which happened this season.

"He runs so well you don't realize how fast he is in practice," Brosky said. "But in the game, bam, he is gone."

Williams said he has been playing the same way since his early years.

"Just give me the ball and I am going to work with it," Williams said. "When I have the ball I try to make magic happen. Since midget football my coaches always taught me, find green and just go."

His exploits with the Colts this summer should come as no surprise to anyone who watched him at Gateway, where he graduated in 2006.

As a senior he was Pennsylvania's MVP in the Big 33 Football Classic after scoring on touchdowns of 38, 25 and 22 yards. During his senior year with the Gators, he amassed 1,538 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns. He was recruited by Michigan State where he went for two years. He redshirted as a freshman and was named the scout team offensive player of the year in 2006. After two years and appearing in five games he transferred to Duquesne University.

"Playing at Michigan State was a great opportunity," Williams said. "Just being around a Division I program was a great experience. And even to come home and play with Duquesne was great."

He started the first five games of the 2009 season, his junior year at Duquesne, before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He still managed to finish third on the team with 29 receptions and lead the team with three touchdown catches.

Now a Penn Hills resident, Williams was a receivers coach two seasons ago for the Chartiers Valley varsity team. He feels right at home now playing on the Colts home field at Chartiers Valley.

Six games into the nine-game season, the Pittsburgh Colts are 5-1 in the Semiprofessional Football (SPF) League. This is their first year in the two-year-old league. They started the season 2-0 with wins against the Cleveland Warriors and Akron Silverbacks before penalties and turnovers in the fourth quarter cost them a game against the New York Sting. They bounced back with a 26-0 win against the Cleveland Warriors.

"I am pretty sure we have corrected all the mistakes we made the week before," Brosky said referencing the loss to New York. "We just had too many mental errors, there hasn't been many physical errors."

The Colts return to action at home against the Rochester Renegades at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Chartiers Valley High School.

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