Phil Anastasia: John Chamberlin powers Williamstown over Timber Creek, 26-18

The Williamstown team led by co-captain Derek Lauria, right center, celebrates its 26-18 victory over Timber Creek. (Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

When John Chamberlin was 5 years old, his youth football coaches took one look at him and made him a guard.

That lasted a week.

Chamberlin has been a fullback ever since. He's a junior in high school now. On Friday night, he played a fullback game for the ages.

The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder lugged the ball 41 times for 189 yards and two touchdowns to power No. 3-ranked Williamstown to a 26-18 victory over No. 2 Timber Creek in a clash of top-10 teams.

"I wish he would have carried 42 times," Williamstown coach Frank Fucetola said after his Braves controlled the second half before a crowd of around 3,000 spectators at the Chargers' field.

Williamstown would have taken any kind of victory on this warm, damp night.

This was a "statement game," for the Braves, according to Fucetola - a major step forward for a program that has been on the rise in recent seasons.

But the most impressive thing was the way in which Williamstown won the game: with physical play, with a rushing attack that seized command in the second half, with a fullback who pounded away at the Timber Creek defense like a wrecking ball on the side of a building.

"That means a lot," Chamberlin said.

"They're supposed to be this big team with all these players going places [to Division I colleges]. We wanted to come out and take their hearts away from them."

The game turned on two sequences on each side of halftime.

First, Timber Creek was hurt by a lack of timeouts and failed to score despite reaching the Williamstown 1-yard line at the end of the second quarter.

"That was huge," Fucetola said.

But what happened next was even more important.

Williamstown took the second-half kickoff and ripped off a 17-play drive that consumed nearly nine minutes.

Chamberlin carried 10 times during the drive for 43 yards. His body blows set up Marques Little's haymaker: an 11-yard burst around left end that, combined with Matt Peacock's clutch extra point, gave the Braves a 13-12 lead.

"We looked at each other before that drive and said we were taking over the game," Chamberlin said.

He was just getting started. He said he never carried the football more than 25 times in a game. He rushed 27 times for 113 yards in the second half.

"It definitely doesn't feel like 41 carries," Chamberlin said.

"My offensive line did a great job."

Chamberlin has been a fullback in the wing-T offense since the second week of his career. He runs low and has remarkable balance. He has a nose for the end zone and a knack for finding the first-down marker.

He's also a good blocker. But he's no guard.

Williamstown 0 6 7 13 – 26

Timber Creek 6 6 0 6 – 18

TC: Zaire Williams 29 run (kick failed)

W: John Chamberlin 2 run (run failed)

TC: Bryce Shade 45 run (kick failed)

W: Marques Little 11 run (Matt Peacock kick)

W: Chamberlin 5 run (Peacock kick)

W: Little 6 run (kick failed)

TC: Kevin Casey 38 pass from Shade (pass failed)

 


Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or on Twitter @PhilAnastasia.