It’s only been around for nine years. But its Kingman roots date back to 1973 when high school principal and volunteer firefighter Lee Williams died in the line of duty.
He and 10 other firefighters died on July 5, 1973, when a flaming Doxol propane tanker exploded.
Almost 40 years later, Lee Williams High School was born. And, appropriately, they were called the Volunteers.
Now their name is being heard statewide after winning their first football playoff game, beating Apache Junction 55-32 as the 11th seed in the first round of the 4A tournament.
They have won the most games in school history with eight. And they travel to face two-time defending champion Gilbert Mesquite on Friday in the quarterfinals.
“I’m extremely proud of our team for what we’ve been able to accomplish so far in the season,” coach Patrick O’Boyle said. “We are delighted to face a team like Mesquite in the next round and we understand that they will be a very difficult team to play. They are very disciplined and very well trained on all sides of the ball.”
After going 4-3 during the COVID 2020 season, ending with a victory over Bullhead City Mohave, O’Boyle appealed to player pride to come back stronger and have the best season in school history. .
“We said to the boys, ‘If you want to take the next step as a program, we have to do more,” O’Boyle said. “It really hit the kids in the offseason through the practices.
“Then the season started and we got off to a relatively slow start.”
The Vols opened with an 18-13 loss to Phoenix Northwest Christian. They won their next two games over Lake Havasu and Phoenix North Canyon, before losing by one point to Prescott.
“We had a group of seniors and leaders who decided enough was enough and we needed to start playing to their potential,” O’Boyle said. “We then started playing differently and with more attention to detail and focused energy in the right direction.
“We have a great group of kids who are very tight-knit. They are all best friends and would do anything for anyone on the team. We are a player-driven team when it comes to leadership and the standards met in our program. These are the things that have taken us to the next steps as a program and why we have had the successes that we have had this year.”
One of those leaders is Devean Santos, who passed for 1,661 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 1,031 yards and 18 scores. He had 37 touchdowns, aided by offensive linemen Nick Kennedy, Henry Ogata, Aaron Caraveo, Caleb Farris, Jarred Cardiff, Peyton Cundari and Drayden Allen.
“They’ve really embraced the mentality that if they play well, other people have a chance to do what they do best,” O’Boyle said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere without our offensive line play this season. These guys have done a tremendous job.”
They opened up holes for fullbacks Jimmy Berry and Kruz Yocum. The receiving body was great with Troy Edwards, Thomas Doxtader, Reilly Feil hard to defend.
Defensively, the Vols are led by Payton Wayman and Brayden Petersen, who both have over 100 tackles.
The back of the defense is led by Devin White, Doxtader, Feil and Andrew Towning.
Justin Wright has been a weapon kicking and kicking.
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