William Long, Class of 2021, may he, one-day, be the best there has ever been?

Photo: John Rittenhouse

With apologies to Charlie Daniels, “Fire on the mountain, run boys run!” We don’t know at KPGFootball whether the “Devils in the house of the rising sun…” or not, but we believe we may have witnessed a “Devil went down to Georgia” moment yesterday in Paducah, Kentucky.

Now, both readily and freely, KPGFootball admits I am the wrong guy to write this article. I am William Long’s father and biggest fan. My heaping praise on him does what it has always done, made most reading the article roll their eyes.

If we had anyone else to assign to write this article, he or she would be writing it. I am the only one who covered it. I am the only one of our staff who witnessed it. Like it or not, the assignment falls to me.

Good thing there’s video. Video is incapable of lying much like weight-rooms, laser-timed sprints, vertical leaps, broad jumps, and mathematics. It is what it is. You can witness the spectacle for yourself. What approximately a thousand people witnessed yesterday live, and many more thousands have seen on either FaceBook, Twitter, and/or Snap-Chat, was quite a spectacle.

We all witnessed a 16-year old, sophomore in high school, weighing 253.3 pounds, break the Border Brawl meet record for bench press by 70 pounds. That’s right, going into yesterday, the Border Brawl record bench press was 335 pounds.

We saw a 16-year old kid lift a meet best 660 pounds, combined lift (bench + power-clean). We saw a sophomore lifter tie his school’s all-time bench press record of 405 pounds which was 15 or so year’s old (Ricky Abren benched 405 pounds at the “Iron Tiger” meet in Cadiz, Kentucky in 2003). We may have seen a kid, who, before it is all said and done, will end up the “best that’s ever been” in Kentucky Powerlifting history.

Football-wise, it is not like the kid can’t play dead in a western either. At least, in the opinion of the Kentucky Press Corp, which selected him to the first-team offense on its AP All-State Football team, his playing of football is pretty good. It is not like the kid is a bad athlete as his 4.37 second, pro-agility shuttle; 5.2 second 40-yard dash; and his vertical leap all attest. Want to see quick feet? Throw down a rope ladder and get out of the way.

All of the above aside, the kid, in the weight room, is special. Whether its an incline press of 315 pounds, his over 550-pound back-squat, the 505 pounds he pulls, the 260 he power-cleans, or the 405 pounds he bench presses, he’s all-over elite in the three departments of strength, power, and explosion. Pretty relatable departments to the playing of football, or so I have been before told many times.

William Long confided in me he was going to break Abren’s competitive meet record bench-press at Hoptown when he was an eighth grader just entering the varsity football program. Just two years ago, at this time, William Long was an eighth-grader at HMS. William had finished a fabulous middle-school football career and was busy working feverishly in the weight room to give himself a chance to play on Friday nights as a freshman.

William, an obnoxiously strong eighth grader, benching approximately 260 and squatting 405 even then, was someone who’s guarantee to, “one-day,” break Abren’s record had to be seriously considered. However, it’s a long way from 260 to 405, let me assure you. Those two figures aren’t located on the same hemisphere.

Looking back, I suppose I believed William. He just forgot to tell me he intended to tie the record the first power-lifting meet of his sophomore year.

In all fairness, William Long didn’t best the Abren record yesterday. William has tied Ricky Abren’s 2004 bench press and hasn’t beaten it, at least not yet. With the State Powerlifting meet looming a month or so away, one has to wonder aloud how much longer the Abren name stays associated with that particular record?

KPGFootball believes the time has come for us to be honest, with ourselves if no one else. William Long just isn’t ordinary. Yeah, he’s good, but “good” doesn’t fairly encompass it either.

William Long is elite. He has elite strength, power, and explosion and, the odds are, it will only increase as he goes along. Watch his bench press from yesterday, his final permitted attempt, and ask yourself this…was that even his max? Was there more left on that lift?

KPGFootball won’t answer that for you. You have to answer it for yourself or wait a month or so to see. What we will gently suggest is that we may have all seen the figurative (and surely not the literal) devil bow his head yesterday in Paducah, Kentucky. He knew he’d been beat, so he laid the figurative “golden fiddle” on the ground at William’s feet. Maybe, yesterday, William Long was telling a gymnasium full of fans that he’s not too far off from being “the best that’s ever been.”

Reporting for KPGFootball, this is F.W. Long, reminding all of you ballers out there to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE.

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