Mention the 2010 Charles H. Flowers-Bowie football game, and Roman Williams laughs heartily for a few seconds as he recalls his first varsity start.
“I got jittery,” said Williams, who was a sophomore quarterback at Flowers. “I got scared as far as I just got choked up in the moment.”
With the team's top quarterback injured, Williams let a few bad snaps rattle him, tried to do too much and generally struggled. Though Flowers won, its 13 points were the least it had scored in any game that season, and Williams was replaced by game's end.
Williams has come a long way since — or nowhere at all, depending on perspective.
Later in his sophomore year, he transferred to Fishburne Military Academy in Waynesboro, Va. He enrolled at DeMatha as a junior, because the Stags were recruiting his younger brother, Ramar, who ended up attending Bishop McNamara. Roman became DeMatha's starting quarterback last season.
Now, he's back at Flowers.
“I look at my high school career as coming full circle,” Williams said. “I'm going to finish where I started. I can't say this was all in the plan, because I really have had a real crazy high school career.”
On the high end was DeMatha's competitive loss to Good Counsel last season, when Williams threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns against a defense littered with NCAA Division I prospects.
On the low end is his first start against Bowie — a game Williams said is a distant memory.
“I feel like I can read any defense, pick any defense apart in the county, especially after playing in the WCAC last year,” said Williams, who has completed 10 of 19 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns for Flowers, which will take on Northwestern in a battle of two 3-0 teams at 7 p.m. Friday at Heurich Field in Hyattsville.
But why chance returning to Flowers, where Williams said he was headed down the wrong path before leaving for Fishburne? Might he repeat those same mistakes by returning to that environment?
“It was really all on me,” Williams said of his first stint at Flowers. “It wasn't anything with the coaches or any fallouts with any students or anything.”
Williams says he's matured since, and so does his coach.
“He's been through some rough times, but I think he's learned his lessons from them,” Flowers coach Mike Mayo said. “Things happen for a reason. Hopefully, he can finish season with a bang and that this is a good place for him.”