Saraland sophomore Ryan Williams is a wide receiver. He's also a running back. Most of all, though, he is just a dynamic football player.
The 6-foot, 155-pound Alabama commit scored four touchdowns, three of them rushing, in a 38-17 victory over Mountain Brook in the AHSAA Class 6A state championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Saraland had 301 yards in total offense in the first half. Williams had 230 of those yards. He opened the scoring with a 61-yard touchdown run and added touchdown runs of 1 and 58 yards. He also had a 24-yard scoring reception from KJ Lacey. Overall, Williams had 188 rushing yards, seven catches for 84 yards and two kickoff returns for 20 yards.
"He's a unique player," Mountain Brook coach Chris Yeager said. "I have been at Mountain Brook now 24 years, and I think the three best players I have seen are probably Chad Jackson, George Pickens and then him. I have been coaching for 40 years, and he is no doubt one of the top three or four players I have seen. They have gotten quite a few players, but he is really, really special."
Saraland won the state championship for the first time in school history. The Spartans finished as state runner-ups in 2014 and 2018.
One of the bigger plays in the game came at the conclusion of the first half. Mountain Brook scored a touchdown with 2:51 left on a 1-yard run by Cole Gamble. The extra point trimmed the deficit to 21-10.
Mountain Brook hoped to take that momentum into the locker room. It appeared that would happen as Williams was stopped at the 1-yard line on the final play of the half. Mountain Brook headed to the locker room, but Saraland coach Jeff Kelly asked for a review to see if time was still on the clock when Williams was knocked out of bounds. Officials ruled there was two seconds left on the clock and Mountain Brook players came back on the field. Williams gave Saraland the 28-10 lead on a 1-yard run.
Saraland cruised to the win in the second half. Running back Sante McWilliams helped control the clock, finishing with 161 rushing yards.
Mountain Brook receiver Clark Sanderson had 10 catches for 153 yards with a 26-yard touchdown pass from John Colvin in the second half. Gamble had 75 rushing yards, and Gamble threw for 228 yards.
Mountain Brook fell short of winning its first state championship since claiming back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976.
"It's been an incredible year," Yeager said. "I know there are 62 (6A) teams that want to be where we are. It did not turn out like we wanted, but I got to spend 15 weeks with these incredible guys. It has been so fun."
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