Published Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm / Updated at 10:32 pm
western iowa male athlete of the year
Hit on diamond, made people miss in football
Past winners
2012: Collin Bevins, Creston
2011: Levi Ettleman, Logan-Magnolia
2010: Brandon Scherff, Denison-Schleswig
2009: Bryant Hummel, Clarinda
2008: Kalab Evans, Creston
2007: Jimmy Waters, CB Lewis Central
2006: Casey Harriman, BC-Ida Grove
2005: Tyler Blum, Walnut
2004: Joel Osborn, Harlan
2003: Gabe Stofferahn, Creston
2002: Adam Haluska, Carroll
2001: Blake Larsen, Atlantic
2000: Seth Evans, Lenox
1999: Tony Leick, CB St. Albert
1998: Billy Cundiff, Harlan
1997: Kyle McCann, Creston
1996: David Kjeldgaard, CB Lewis Central
1995: Chad Deal, CB Lewis Central
1994: Michael Burger, Harlan
1993: Troy Kloewer, Harlan
1992: Matt Mullenix, Woodbine
1991: Matt Straight, Logan-Magnolia
1990: Josh Nelsen, EH-Kimballton
1989: Brian Ratigan, CB St. Albert
1988: Scott Davis, Glenwood
1987: Chris Kuhlmann, Denison
1986: Andy Nordland, Clarinda
1985: Ken Gardner, Schleswig
1984: Todd Koos, Harlan
1983: Dan Vorthmann, Treynor
1982: Tom Koos, Harlan
1981: Todd Berkenpas, Maple Valley
1980: Don Nowakowski, Clarinda
1979: Wally Duffy, Shenandoah
1978: Shamus McDonough, Corning
1977: Jeff Schroeder, Treynor
1976: Mike Schraer, CB A. Lincoln
1975: Marti Wolever, CB St. Albert
1974: Mike Larsen, Harlan
1973: Jim Stewart, Treynor
1972: Jeff Brandstetter, Harlan
1971: Tom Winchell, Treynor
1970: Steve Johnson, Red Oak
1969: Nick Everett, Carroll
1968: Van Brownson, Shenandoah
1967: Phil Wertman, Villisca

Note: Only southwest Iowans were eli­gible before 1996.

COUNCIL BLUFFS — One of his coaches at Sioux City East described Dom Thompson-Williams’ talents:

“He was just a natural at it. He understood the position. He had the instincts about the position that a lot of kids just naturally don’t have.”

It speaks to his athleticism that those comments could have come from his baseball or football coach. In this case, it was football coach Bob Goodvin speaking of Thompson-Williams’ pass-catching ability. The baseball coach doled out similar praise.

“I think he’s the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen at the high school level,” Jared Ocker said. “His ceiling is unknown at this point.”

For his ability to dominate two sports, Thompson-Williams is The World-Herald’s Western Iowa Male Athlete of the Year for the 2012-13 school year.

Thompson-Williams initially intended to compete in football and baseball at Iowa Western Community College. After one day of football practice, his heart told him otherwise. Now, he’s strictly a Reiver baseball player.

“When I got here and realized the college life, the reality … I just decided that it was way less pressure on me to play baseball,” Thompson-Williams said recently as he looked out onto the baseball field on Iowa Western’s campus.

Baseball was Thompson-Williams’ first love. He started playing travel ball with the Siouxland Stars at age 11 and loved it.

Football was more of a love-hate relationship. When he was 10, he’d go with older brothers Tony Blades and Gabe Blades to a grassy park known as The Lot. They would play tackle football, and Thompson-Williams was one of the youngest kids there.

“I’d get hurt and I’d start crying or something,” he said. “My brother would be like, ‘Get to the side until you stop crying, because I don’t want you crying in front of everyone.’ ”

Eventually, Thompson-Williams would jump back into the fray.

“I think playing there is the reason I was good at football,” he said.

In sixth grade, he found success playing fullback in a youth league. He was still at running back two years later when things changed. He was getting hit harder, and much more frequently.

“I hated getting hit,” he said. “I just wanted to quit football. I didn’t think I was going to play high school football.”

But Thompson-Williams changed his mind, and moved to receiver as a freshman. He earned his first varsity start in the fourth game of his sophomore year against Marshalltown, but he kept botching his assignments in the first half.

“I remember my quarterback screaming at me, saying ‘you’re messing up the team,’” he said.

In the second half, Thompson-Williams caught two long touchdown passes and finished with 108 receiving yards as the Black Raiders rallied from a halftime deficit to win 35-14. He finished his career with more than 2,200 receiving yards and 21 TDs.

As a senior, he caught 58 passes for 1,234 yards and 12 scores. His highlight tape is an array of spectacular plays.

“Dom just knew it,” Goodvin said. “He understood leverage. He understood the importance of running a route right. He understood the technique involved in getting in and out of cuts.”

Said Ocker, also East’s defensive coordinator: “His ability to make people miss, start and stop, was amazing.”

In baseball, Thompson-Williams started 26 of the Black Raiders’ 38 games as a freshman. He was a career .474 hitter with 53 doubles, 13 triples and 10 homers to go with 138 RBIs and 91 stolen bases.

He’s a tremendous defensive center fielder. At the plate, he possesses quick, strong wrists and struck out only 31 times in 538 career at-bats.

“His hand-eye coordination is unmatched,” Ocker said.

Thompson-Williams played basketball as a freshman and sophomore. He considered joining the team as a senior, but a shoulder injury late in the football season squashed that. He competed in the state track meet as a junior in the 400-meter relay, but said track was never his thing.

Baseball and football were, but being constantly on the go comes with a price. Thompson-Williams doesn’t have a relationship with his father, and was raised by his mother, Teresa Thompson. When you’re always on sports teams there are plenty of needs, which created occasional tension with her.

“Man, we’d get into deep arguments,” he said. “But we’d get over them within 20 minutes. She’ll come in and it will be over, just like that. So that’s good. She’s definitely the main reason I’m here.”

Thompson-Williams also has one younger brother, Terrick Thompson. All of his brothers are proud of his achievements, he said, but his mother is most vocal. Thompson-Williams chides his mother for always bragging to her friends and co-workers about him.

“She says, ‘I can brag about you whenever I want,’ ” he said with a chuckle.

Thompson-Williams is ready for the next step. He’s eager to show what he can do for the Reivers — and whoever else is watching.

One thing he won’t do is aim low. He said after Iowa Western, his goals are to “hopefully go to an SEC team, a big school, and dominate there. And then hopefully get drafted and see me in the league sometime.”

Contact the writer: Kevin White    |   402-290-5287    |  

Kevin White is The World-Herald's western Iowa writer, covering about 60 high schools. He's also in charge of the sports department at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs.

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