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14-year-old HS star is part mystery, part legend-in-making

Updated: Thursday, September 26 2013, 12:24 AM CDT

Posted by: Jason Bristol

CAMP HILL -- While age is just a number to most of us, its part of an on-going mystery packed inside the chiseled body of 14-year-old Bill Williams -- a star football player who does not know how old he may really be.

Despite his All-American name, Williams, a freshman running back at Camp Hill High School, Cumberland County, is from Liberia.

He was rescued from the nation's civil wars by Phyllis Williams. "He is a polite kid," said Williams, his mother. "He came that way."

Phyllis Williams was told Bill was 5 1/2 years-old at the time of his adoption.

Little Bill quickly took to football and kids around the area have been chasing him ever since.

In middle school, he seemed to score every time he touched the ball.  His very first carry for the varsity team? He went 65 yards for a touchdown against Upper Dauphin.

His bulging biceps stretch his shirts to the limit and he bench-presses more than 300 pounds. And with every extra plate of weight he lifts in the gym, questions start piling up, too.

"The most popular one is 'How did you get so big?'" recalls Bill. "I try and tell them it's mostly genetics."

But this strong? This fast? This young?

Even Bill Williams wonders: Is the birthday he knows not a day or a year, but rather an estimate?

In Liberia, the birth registration rate among children under 5 was estimated to be about 5% in 2007 -- the second-lowest in the world, according to one report. Bill Williams' birth certificate, prepared for his adoption, says he was born in February 1999.

"I don't know how old he is and I'm going by what's on his birth certificate," said Camp Hill head coach Frank Gay.

"It's says he's 14. So we're going to list him at 14."

Gay says what we don't know about Williams pales in comparison with what we do know.

"Bill has that drive," remarked Gay. "He doesn't want to be good, he wants to be great."

Some local football experts believe Williams will be one of the most recruited high school players in the area. He may also challenge the state's all-time career rushing record, as well.

Camp Hill is 1-3 this season and plays Friday at Middletown.

Bill Williams is always smiling, as well; and adored by everyone at school. Most of all, he's thankful to be in the United States.

"I'm just so lucky to be one of the lucky ones, to come here and get a new start basically," he said.

"So I can start my life over."

Photos used in this story were submitted by Williams family.

14-year-old HS star is part mystery, part legend-in-making

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