When William Crest was just 5 years old he took his first computer apart.
With both of his parents teaching Cisco Networking Systems in the Baltimore Public School System, Crest naturally was drawn to technology. At a young age, he would mess with the components of a computer, taking it apart to put it back together again.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Crest said. “I worked on it and then I turned it on and it worked.”The same 5-year-old also picked up another hobby. He began learning the quarterback position.
Fast forward to his sophomore year of high school and Crest has become the field general for the fourth-ranked Dunbar Poets. As a sophomore, Crest has quickly become integrated with the Dunbar offense. It’s been a learning process, but one he’s hoping to master.
“Coming in as a sophomore (starter), there’s a lot of weight placed on your shoulders,” Crest said. “It takes a lot of work. I was in the weight room a lot all summer, working out with the defense and offense. I worked with the receivers to get our timing right. We’re still working on it. But as time goes, we’ll still be working, working and working. And by the end of the season, we’re going to end up with another state championship.”
In Dunbar’s most recent outing against Edmondson-Westside, Crest scored two touchdowns in a 20-6 win, allowing the Poets to keep the annual Ben Eaton Memorial Trophy.
At 6-feet-2-inches, Crest has the size to see his receivers downfield. He also has the speed to turn nothing into something when plays break down. He said he looks to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor as players he takes his style from. His teammates call him “Young Geno,” in reference to the playmaking ability of collegiate quarterback Geno Smith, who plays for West Virginia.
“But I stick to my game and make sure that I’m playing William’s game,” he said.
Crest has had some help as he grows into being a long-term leader for the Dunbar offense.
“He’s trying to grow and be a better person every day,” senior receiver Deontay McManus said. “He’s humble, and hungry. He’s trying to come out there and give 100 percent. I see him every day working harder to get better.”
Crest has been described as having excellent attention to detail. He’s inquisitive and not afraid to ask questions. Not only will he put in extra film study time on offense, Crest will speak with the defensive coaches to try to get a better understanding for certain schemes. But when playing a position in the spotlight at a young age, there’s a chance of being anxious at times.
“He has the mentality of a linebacker,” Dunbar offensive coordinator Travis Blackston said. “So, we have to try to get him to calm down some under center. You can’t really play quarterback like a linebacker. We have to try to get him to calm down a little bit because he can make all the throws. It’s just a matter of him getting relaxed and getting comfortable. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Since he’s just a sophomore, Crest isn’t looking at colleges yet. But he said grades are his first priority, and if football isn’t in his future he’ll have something to fall back on. He still maintains the interest in technology that his 5-year-old self once possessed.
But he’s also interested in a long-term career in sports training, nutrition and health.
“Sports isn’t everything but it can take you somewhere in life,” Crest said.
by Jason Butt