Perry-Lecompton QB William Welch hitting stride during trip to 3A title game
It all changed for Perry-Lecompton quarterback William Welch following an 8-3 loss to Jefferson West on Oct. 11.
The junior quarterback threw two interceptions and completed 11 of 23 passes for 90 yards, which made Welch take a hard look in the mirror. It wasn’t the start to the year that Welch had expected entering his first full season as the starting signal caller for the Kaws.
“Beginning (of the year) was rough,” Welch said prior to last week’s 35-27 win over Hayden in the Class 3A semifinals. “I had a lot of people tell me it was rough. They expected a little bit more and I expected the same thing.”
Since then, though, Welch has surpassed. And the Kaws are headed to the state championship game for the first time since 2008 because of it.
Welch has thrown for over 200 yards in five of his previous six games after doing so just once through the first six weeks. Over the last six contests, Welch is 88 for 154 through the air for a total of 1,271 yards to go along with 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
As a result, Perry-Lecompton (9-3, No. 2 in Class 3A) has won six games in a row entering this week’s state title game against unbeaten Andale. Welch is coming off a three-touchdown and 233-yard passing performance against Hayden in the semifinals.
For the season, Welch is now 154 of 237 for 2,214 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air.
“I made a mentality of, “Let’s go do something,” Welch said. “That made me so much more motivated. I’m understanding the game a lot better.”
But it makes sense that it has taken a bit for Welch to really hit his stride.
Welch didn’t earn his first career start until the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs last year, when he helped the Kaws notch a 34-20 win over Wamego. Welch then got the nod in the next game, which turned out to be a 26-8 defeat to eventual state champion Sabetha.
“It was crazy,” Welch said. “At the beginning of the year, I thought that (playoff experience) was going to help me a lot but it took a little bit longer than I wanted.”
Even though Welch had a whole offseason to prepare, it was still a process to fully understand all the passing-game concepts that Perry-Lecompton implemented this year. He also had to learn how to adjust to the different types of coverages that opposing defenses ultimately threw at PLHS this season.
“We have done some different things offensively than we did last year,” Perry-Lecompton coach Mike Paramore said. “There are some things he has to make decisions on and there has to be trust within the passing game. I think we have done a better job of that.”
It does help that Welch has plenty of players that he can trust within the passing game.
Junior Dawson Williams leads the team with 37 catches, which he has turned into 649 yards and six scores. Junior Parker Stone has netted 35 receptions for 627 yards and five scores. Junior running back Thad Metcalfe has hauled in 28 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns as well.
Junior Caidon Quinlan, junior Hunter Hess and senior Grant Roush have all been involved in the passing game as well.
Still, Perry-Lecompton’s passing attack will be put to the test in the final weekend of the season. Andale (12-0, No. 1 in Class 3A) has only allowed a total of 27 points over the last four games. No opposing offense has scored more than 22 points in a game against Andale in 2019.
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Hutchinson Community College.