Jake Browning didn’t think much about it when he first heard Jonah Williams was transferring into Folsom High School in California .

“Then he showed up,” the Washington quarterback said. “Obviously (he) was pretty big. At the time he was pretty raw.”

They were only teammates for one season and now they’re playoff opponents. Williams is Alabama’s freshman starting right tackle, Browning the Huskies’ prolific passer.

And they remain close friends, checking in often after games. Usually, football’s a pretty safe topic for schools in different conferences 2,000 miles apart. Not so much this week.

“For the sake of our friendship, we’re not really talking about football,” Williams said. “We’ve been good friends for a long time so there’s not any animosity or anything like that, but it’s definitely competitive spirit. He wants to win, I want to win. There’s no hard feelings personally but we’re both competitors.”


Williams, who is an Atlanta native, moved to Folsom from another Sacramento-area school midway through his sophomore year. Now, he describes Browning as one of his best friends but at the time he wasn’t sure what to expect from a star quarterback at a powerhouse program. His Davis High team would hear about Browning and Folsom’s exploits after their own games.

“You kind of assume the superstar quarterback’s going to have an ego and stuff like that,” Williams said. “So we had our first day of practice my first day at Folsom and he came off the field and introduced himself to me because I was the new kid. I kind of assumed he’d be too good for that. That’s kind of the first thing that struck me was he didn’t have that superstar ego or anything like that. He was really humble.”

Now, Williams, whose family had moved to California for his father’s job in land resource management, is back playing his close friend’s team in his home town.

“It’s really cool,” he said. “It’s a crazy coincidence.”