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Winslow's Belton just won't give up

As his comeback effort against Williamstown demonstrates, the QB will battle to the end.

Winslow Township quarterback Bill Belton "has an unbelievable will to compete and win," says his coach. (Akira Suwa/Staff Photographer)
Winslow Township quarterback Bill Belton "has an unbelievable will to compete and win," says his coach. (Akira Suwa/Staff Photographer)Read more

It was one game in a series of superlative performances, but that single effort on Nov. 6 was a microcosm of Bill Belton's football career at Winslow Township.

His team trailed by 27-0 late in the first half against a talented Williamstown team that had already clinched a South Jersey Group 4 playoff spot.

Winslow Township needed a win to qualify for the South Jersey Group 3 playoffs.

Belton, The Inquirer South Jersey offensive player of the year, threw a touchdown pass on the last play of the first half and never stopped scoring in the second half.

For the game, he completed 25 of 36 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 48 yards and two more TDs as Winslow Township won, 34-27, to earn that Group 3 playoff spot.

"That game is who Bill Belton is," said Mike McBride, who has resigned as Winslow Township's coach in order to attend law school. "He is not a big vocal leader, but he has an unbelievable will to compete and win."

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Belton was a nightmare to defend because of his elusiveness and great decision-making. He hurt teams as much with his arm and brain as he did his legs.

This season he completed 148 of 241 passes for 2,167 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns on 161 carries.

Belton was a wide receiver as a sophomore before moving to quarterback his final two years. He has many great high school memories, with the comeback over Williamstown among the best.

"Games like that [against Williamstown] show your character and how mentally tough you have to be as a team," Belton said. "That was certainly a big moment in my career."

Belton made an oral commitment in the summer to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was recruited as an athlete, likely as a receiver.

Whether he attends Pitt now remains to be seen after head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned on Tuesday, reportedly under pressure.

Belton said he would keep his options open, and much depends on which assistant coaches are retained.

McBride and Belton said their phones have heated up since the announcement with colleges attempting to re-recruit him.

Among the schools that have called is Oregon, which will meet Auburn for the Bowl Championship Series national championship.

"It's been crazy," Belton said.

Sort of like having to defend Belton.

"He had an 18-yard touchdown run this year in which I think every kid missed him," McBride said. "I have coached a lot of talented players and I'm pretty good in not getting caught up in what they do on the field, but on that one I was just amazed."

It speaks volumes about Belton's pride that he entered this year with the goal to be a better passer, though he knows that he won't be a college quarterback. Any school would be wise to draw up some Wildcat plays with Belton taking the snaps.

"Coming into the year I wanted to throw the ball better and work on my mechanics and make the correct reads at the right time," he said. "I feel I was throwing the ball better."

The statistics back him up.

More impressive is that Belton also played defense, intercepting five passes from the secondary. And there were times, including that Williamstown game, where he was noticeably fatigued, at least until the next snap, when he would take off, improvise, and head toward the end zone.

"When we go to the weight room now, guys talk about how crazy that [Williamstown] game was," Belton said. "I enjoyed playing in a game like that."

Actually, he enjoyed playing in any game.

"The best part about high school football was competing with my friends and enjoying every moment," Belton said.

Few put on a better show than Belton, who is now looking forward to taking his talents to the next level.

"It's a big challenge but my goal is to go into college and try to make a mark early and show what I can do," he said.

There is a lot to show from a player known for his highlight-reel plays, but he should more accurately be remembered for never giving in to an opponent or the scoreboard.