By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In conjunction with the Minnesota Vikings and the NFL, WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally Coach of the Year is Owatonna High School’s Jeff Williams.

The award includes a trip to Orlando to represent the Vikings market in the Pro Bowl.

Williams has been winning games for the Huskies for a long time, and he’s got his eyes on back-to-back to state titles this week — with the help of one dynamic running back.

On a day they gathered for practice, Williams got a surprise.

“The reason that I’m here today is actually because your coach, Coach Williams, is our coach of the year,” said Jeff Robinson, the Vikings youth football development manager.

jeff williams owatonna football coach of the year Meet WCCO’s Coach Of The Year, And His Secret Weapon

Jeff Williams (credit: CBS)

“I just thought the best part of the day would be 70 degrees and indoors and no wind,” Williams said. “No it’s a little trip to Orlando, so that’s pretty cool, and obviously a great honor. You know, I think it’s a reflection of the whole staff that we’ve got.”

He has been the head coach since 1996. He has seen much, and learned much.

“Every year is new, we get a new bunch of kids, you get new challenges,” he said. “Last year we were able to throw the ball all over the place, and use [Jason] Williamson in spots. And this year, we’re really relying on Jason.”

Williamson has been off the charts, setting a single-game state rushing record, and running all over every team for the last two years. He helped the Huskies win a state title last season.

“[The state title] was like our goal, like it is this year again. It’s just going a little smoother I guess this year, I would say,” Williamson said. “I just kind of go and play my own game, take it game by game, don’t really think about the numbers or anything.”

The young man of few words is what every coach dreams will come their way.

jason williamson Meet WCCO’s Coach Of The Year, And His Secret Weapon

Jason Williamson (credit: CBS)

“He’s obviously made a lot of people look smart over the years in Owatonna. He’s just a great athlete,” Williams said. “You know, in my time in the Big Nine, which goes back to the early 80s, the only guy that we’ve even seen that’s of his caliber is Daryl Thompson.”

He will follow where Thompson played, having committed to the University of Minnesota.

“Coach Fleck, his vision, the new facilities, being hometown, there’s a lot of reason [laughs]!” Williamson said. “Really excited.”

They will get a running back who loves to compete, every play.

“If I can’t get to the end zone, I’m going to try to make a statement by either running someone over or something like that,” Williamson said.

For right now, all thoughts in Owatonna are on a state title, in part because they worry about everything.

“We don’t want to make a mistake and allow something to get away from us, whether it’s showing up late for a meeting, or, you know, ‘Oh, we’ve got to go visit Grandma Tuesday, won’t be at practice,’” Williams said. “We’re nervous all the time about what it is that allows us to play at a high level, because we aren’t sure.”

Mike Max

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