East County Sports

Mtn. Empire star Will, 18, dies in one-car accident

James Will signs his letter of intent to play football at Trinity International University nine weeks ago.

By Ramon Scott

BOULDER OAKS – Mountain Empire senior JAMES WILL, the most valuable player on last season’s Red Hawks football team, died in a one-car accident on Friday morning, according to news reports.

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Mountain Empire star RB James Will.

Will, a transfer from Gilroy, was a dominant force in the Manzanita League this past season despite the team’s 3-7 overall record. 

Will rushed for 1,269 yards and 13 touchdowns for a 6.8 ypr average this season, while also catching 16 passes for 201 yards and a score.

He was named second team All-East County for his stellar campaign.

Just nine weeks ago, Will, 18, signed a letter of intent to play football at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.

Few here in Pine Valley will ever forget the Red Hawks’ homecoming comeback victory last October over Calipatria when Mtn. Empire roared back from a 27-0 deficit to post a 39-36 victory. Will had 20 carries for 150 yards and four touchdowns, including the decisive touchdown on a 22-yard run.

Will also had a four touchdown game against Temecula Prep.

Trinity defensive coordinator Lamont Butler, a former head coach at Horizon, said on Twitter Saturday, “Prayers going out to the Mountain Empire football program and high school on the loss of James Will.”

Chula Vista High CB Isaiah Chavez tweeted, “I had the privilege to play and get to know this kid. He was such a good guy.”

Coronado defensive standout Gregg Gonzalez said in a tweet, “Great kid, great baller, so sad to hear this. San Diego football is mourning today.”

Many others shared condolences and prayers on Facebook, including Christian High star tackle JONATHAN STINE.

Will also was a participant in the 2015 SDNFL All-Star Game, which showcases the area’s most talented seniors.

Will was on his way to pick up his great-grandmother in Pine Valley when his Acura TSX crashed into a bridge and rolled down an embankment before 6 a.m.

At around 12:30 p.m., his family reported him missing to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The accident took place near the La Posta Bridge, but wasn’t discovered until CHP officials discovered the wreckage around 1 p.m. following a brief search.

Will was ejected from the vehicle and declared dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to CHP reports.

Rainy conditions on early Friday morning may have played a role in the accident, according to CHP officials.

Investigators believe Will lost control while driving on the bridge and collided into the railing along the right shoulder, sending the car spinning into the center median, CHP officials said.

The car then launched over the side of the downhill embankment and overturned several times. ejected Will from the vehicle.

CHP officials said the wreckage was not visible from the traffic lanes since the car landed down the will. He was the only person inside the car.

Condolences also poured in on Facebook, especially from employees and customers from Cafe B. in Jamul, where Will had been working.

A post on Cafe B’s Facebook page Saturday afternoon read, “In honor of our favorite co-worker, a superstar ball player, the most kindhearted young man, and our dear friend, James Will. We love you and you will surely be missed.”


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