OCEANSIDE Kickoffs and punts are William Gulley’s time to rest.
“Other than that, I want to be on the field,” said the Oceanside High senior fullback/linebacker. “I love playing both ways.”
On offense, the Pirates use the 6-foot, 220-pound Gulley to get the hard yards.
He has 96 carries for 599 yards, but has scored 16 touchdowns. Of those 16 TDs, 11 have come from inside the 5.
Plus, he’s the lead blocker for Thai Cottrell on Oceanside’s speed sweep, usually blowing up a defensive back, who comes up trying to force the action.
It’s on defense, however, where Gulley really shines.
Despite missing three games with an injury, including the Pirates’ only loss, a 40-30 decision against Temecula Chaparral, Gulley is the team’s leading tackler.
He’s not the biggest middle linebacker. Nor is he the fastest.
“But he has a nose for the ball,” Oceanside coach John Carroll said of the player named the North County Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s just one of those players who has a knack for making plays.
“He plays on the edge, but he plays hard, and he plays well — on both sides of the ball.”
The Pirates (11-1) have allowed 121 points in 12 games this season as they await Saturday’s San Diego Section Division II championship game against Poway.
They’ve shut out five opponents, held another to three points and another to six.
“If some college offers me a scholarship and wants me to play offense, I’ll take it,” Gulley said. “If someone wants me to play both ways, I’d jump at the chance.
“Down deep, though, I’m a defensive guy.
“Defense is the fun part of playing football for me.”
But does playing both ways take a lot out of him, especially this late in the season?
“No, not really,” Gulley said. “Conditioning doesn’t affect me.
“Games get me in shape.
“We go hard in practice, but we don’t go crazy and wear ourselves out. Coach Carroll has been doing this a long time, playing guys both ways.
“He knows where the line is between practicing hard and burning guys out.
“We do a lot of film study. We prepare very well.
“We seem to know what our opponent is going to do before they know it.”
Gulley knows one thing. He wants to play in college.
Several schools have shown interest, and he has a trip set to visit Idaho State.
“Being named Player of the Year is a big deal,” Gulley said. “To be recognized as one of the top players is a true blessing.
“But we’ve got a few more games to play.
“We aren’t going to let college talk or honors distract us from winning a championship.
“Championships are what it’s all about at Oceanside.”