Posted: 6:21 am Friday, September 11th, 2009

Game within the game: Terrell Williams vs. Matt Thomas 

By Jason Lieser

When No. 6 Boca Raton visits No. 10 Palm Beach Lakes on Friday, the game pits the Bobcats’ spread offense against one of the area’s best secondaries. There are a lot of big questions heading into this one (How will the Rams try to contain QB Eddie Sullivan? Are the Bobcats good enough up front to slow down Palm Beach Lakes’ running game), but one matchup to watch is Boca Raton WR Terrell Williams vs. Rams CB Matt Thomas.

Williams (5-9, 175, No. 35 on The Big Board) was second-team all-area last season and caught 33 passes for 570 yards and 10 touchdowns. In last week’s win over West Boca Raton, Williams caught five balls for 169 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown catch. The Bobcats (1-0) like to use Williams in a variety of ways, lining him up wide for deep routes and hitting him on quick passes that give him room to work.

Williams

Williams

Thomas

Thomas

Thomas (5-7, 160) is Palm Beach Lakes’ best cover corner and has enough speed — 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash — to stay with Williams. He will also get some help from Rams S Johnnie Simon (6-1, 190, No. 33 on The Big Board) over the top. Thomas will have to find a way to keep Williams in front of him without allowing him so much space that he can catch short passes and use his moves to cut through the secondary.

“We both can move, so it’s going to be a good matchup,” Thomas said. “I have to keep my feet going and be hands-on.

“I just have to keep him in front of me. I’m going to play up and I’m just not going to get beat. I let him make all the moves in front of me and then I react. I can’t get fooled. If I get fooled once, I’m beat. He’s not going to fool me.”

Williams said he felt like he was open the entire game last Friday, especially on deep routes.

He spent most of that night on the outside, switching between the X and Z spots in Boca Raton’s offense. As the season progresses, though, look for the Bobcats broaden their use of Williams even more, setting up in the slot and possibly even at running back. He has the skill set to line up in any of those positions.

“He’s not going to be like a drug-store Indian where he’s always in one spot, right by the door,” Boca Raton coach Keith Byars said. “We can move him all over the offense. You’re not going to know exactly where he is when we break the huddle.

“You can use him anywhere and be successful. There are some more receivers where I’m more comfortable in the slot or I like them on the outside. Terrell can do both. He’s very effective at either position and he’s tough enough to go across the middle and make catches.”

Byars was particularly impressed by Simon when watching last week’s game film and Sullivan said the Rams (1-0) swarm to receivers after the catch better than most teams he has seen. If Williams does slip by Thomas, he is likely to find himself surrounded by potential tacklers.

“If I was to throw a hitch to Terrell at 5 yards, you better believe the safety, the corner from the other side and all the DL are sprinting toward him,” Sullivan said.

Even if the Rams are able to limit Williams’ catches, Sullivan has no problem looking elsewhere. Last week he hit six different receivers.