Jonas Williams is more than willing to trade gaudy stats for wins at Lincoln-Way East

Williams is looking to get the Griffins to the top of the Class 8A pack after state-runner-up finishes the last two years.

SHARE Jonas Williams is more than willing to trade gaudy stats for wins at Lincoln-Way East
Lincoln-Way East's Jonas Williams (13) participates in a 7-on-7 scrimmage against Morgan Park on June 26 in Frankfort.

Lincoln-Way East’s Jonas Williams (13) participates in a 7-on-7 scrimmage against Morgan Park on June 26 in Frankfort.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

One of the state’s most prolific passers the last two seasons may see his numbers go down this fall, and he has no problem with that.

Quarterback Jonas Williams put up video-game stats as a freshman and sophomore at Bolingbrook, including 2,950 total yards and 31 touchdowns last season.

But now the 6-3, 185-pounder is at Lincoln-Way East after a January transfer, and he’s looking to get the Griffins to the top of the Class 8A pack after state runner-up finishes the past two years.

“I’m all about winning honestly,” Williams said after a recent 7-on-7 event. “I don’t care if I throw for 50 yards and throw two passes and we win. So as long as you win, the stats take care of themselves.”

Lincoln-Way East, the state’s premier public-school program in recent years, has leaned on a reliable running game along with a stout defense. The Griffins aren’t likely to change their identity because of one player, even if he’s a four-star recruit who’s the state’s top rising junior and a top-100 player nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings.

At the same time, it’s fair to assume East will take full advantage of Williams’ considerable talents.

Griffins coach Rob Zvonar knew his new quarterback was special from the get-go.

“My first experience [with him] was when he was 14 years old, he was still supposed to be in eighth grade,” Zvonar said. “He came here and threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns against the defense that finished second in the state. I remember saying after that game, ‘It’s gonna be a long few years for us unless he goes to [Florida prep school power] IMG or something.

“I had no idea that at some point he would be here. It’s an honor and a blessing to have him, and he’s fit right in because he doesn’t carry himself with arrogance but rather a fierce confidence and competitiveness.”

Williams already has more than 20 college offers from the likes of Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin as well as the state’s two Big Ten schools.

“I’m not too caught up in my recruitment right now,” he said. “That’s good on my side of things, but football is a team sport. So I’m also focused on building that chemistry with my teammates so we can win games. I’m just balancing it right now and when the time comes to make a decision, it happens.”

Williams has some veteran Division I talent around him in Frankfort. Trey Zvonar, a 6-4, 215-pound tight end who’s the coach’s son, is committed to Miami (Ohio) and Zion Gist, a 6-0, 197-pound running back, is committed to Western Michigan. Both are rising seniors, and both are happy to have Williams on their side now.

“The last few years we’ve kind of been a run-first team where I was putting my hand on the ground a lot, Zion was running the ball all the time,” Trey Zvonar said. “And this year we can finally air it out, so it’s going good.”

“It’s definitely going to help me,” Gist said. “Like Trey said, we were a run-first team last year. But now we’re starting with the pass, we’re spreading out the defense. It’s going to put five in the box for the run game and it’s gonna be easy to run the ball.”

“We didn’t go out and create a brand-new playbook,” Rob Zvonar said. “But based on your personnel, you emphasize your playbook more in certain areas. There’s been a lot of years we had to run to set up the pass. I think you’ll see those percentages certainly change. ...

“We don’t want to ever get to the end of a game, whether we win or lose, and say, ‘Oh, we didn’t throw the ball [enough].’”

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