The senior plays center or guard in Willingboro’s potent offense and hopes his success leads him to the same spot at West Point next year
WILLINGBORO — Oliver Lilly doesn’t care which way the wind blows.
That’s what Willingboro football coach Steve Everette says will determine what position he plays.
“He’s a center or guard, depending on which way the wind blows,” Everette said. “He could also end up playing some defensive tackle, but we’ve had Lamar (Johnson) playing there, and doing really well.”
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior lined up at center Friday night in the Chimeras’ 22-18 win over Woodrow Wilson.
It’s a spot that suits him just fine.
“It doesn’t matter. I just like the offensive line,” Lilly said. “Anything that gets me on the field, and gets me in a position to help my team — that’s the position I like. I like being a leader on the line. I check what I’m doing first, and then I make sure I know what everyone is doing.”
A love of leadership piqued his interest in the United States Military Academy at West Point. This time next year, you might be calling him Cadet Lilly.
“He’s on their radar,” Everette said. “They’ve talked to him and he’s been assigned an advocate, to take him through the whole process. He’s got a letter of recommendation from State Senator (Troy) Singleton, and he’s waiting on one from (U.S. Representative) Andy Kim. It’s a matter of getting another 200 points on his SAT — a couple questions here and there — and continuing to play well.”
There’s certainly enough evidence of his play. The Chimeras won their seventh straight game Friday. Running back Zaire Clements reached 600 rushing yards Friday night and Demie Sumo isn’t far behind.
Ah-Shaun Davis has thrown for over 1,800 yards.
Obviously, a quarterback has to be kept vertical for that.
“We take a lot of pride in that,” Lilly said. “We let them know.”
Lilly is talking to Holy Cross College, Temple University and Stony Brook, in addition to West Point, which he’ll visit either next month or in December. He plans to study Civil Engineering.
“When there’s a crisis, you’re called,” he said. “You need to know how to build. You need to figure out alternate routes and move traffic. Buildings, bridges — you’re figuring out ways to help out a community.”
The service is important to him. Leadership is is important to him. The team is important to him and it shows.
At least when it needs to.
“He’s one of the guys,” Everette said. “A big, silly, fun-loving kid. He’s the first one we’ve had to put the athletic ability, the academics and the willingness to sacrifice for his country together.”