Chris Williams fielded Swayze Waters first quarter punt on Labour Day, surveyed the oncoming Argos cover team, took a jab step left, then spotted a seam to his right, he squeezed through it and burst down the sidelines covering 82 yards for his sixth return touchdown of the season – a record breaking effort.
The CFL’s single-season record for most return touchdowns had been shared by three different players, most notably among the trio, an Eskimo great, Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams.
Gizmo was a legendary returner, one of the best to ever lace them up in the CFL. Any time he touched the football on a return he was a threat to take it back for a major. Twice the Giz notched five return touchdowns in one season, 1987 and again in 1991, via return - a record that stood for 25 years.
The new single season-return touchdown king, Chris Williams, has put on quite a show so far in 2012. Williams bested Gizmo’s mark in just half a seasons worth of football.
“When you break a record of somebody like [Gizmo] it’s definitely a special honour,” Williams said. “By what coach has been telling me he revolutionized the way they punt up here.”
“Coach Cortez said the fact that I broke his record is pretty unbelievable because he had to coach against him and he said that he had 31 returns for touchdowns in his career. “
Over nine games, the Ticats speedster has scored on returns six times. Ever so light on his feet, dancing around would be tacklers, like a magician disappearing in a split second and before you know it the diminutive playmaker is standing in the end zone.
Let’s have some fun with numbers and project where Williams might sit on the CFL’s All-Time return touchdown list if he continues at the same pace for the rest of the season. It’s simple math, Williams has six return touchdowns over nine games so we double that over the final nine contests of the season and our crazy formula tells us he could finish with 12 return majors by seasons end.
Gizmo more than doubles any other return man in CFL history in terms of career return touchdowns with 31. In second is former Argo Bashir Levingston with 15. Two men are tied for third with 12, another former Argonaut, Keith Stokes and Ticats legend, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Winfield.
So if Williams keeps up his current pace in 2012, he had one kick return touchdown in 2011, the New Mexico State grad would sit in third all alone on the career list with 13 total return touchdowns.
Williams could set another single season return record when the 2012 campaign is all said and done. Number 80 currently has a punt return per attempt average of 18 yards. On 38 returns he has amassed 685 yards. The All-Time CFL record for punt return average is 16.8 per attempt set in 1980. Safe to say Williams has a legitimate shot to set a new standard for punt return average as well.
We’ve witnessed Williams make CFL history already this season and down the stretch each time he touches the football he could be adding to his single season return touchdowns record. Just be sure not to blink because you might miss him.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|