East County Sports

Golden Eagle: William Burton 2000-2017




By Dave Dickens



EL CAJON (12-12-17) – WILLIAM BURTON was 6-foot-5, but with his personality, intelligence and athleticism, the 17-year-old Granite Hills High senior stood larger than life.

He was such a leader and winner – coming from a football family of players and coaches – that at times he seemed invincible.


It is very tragic when we lose a young man with a whole life of triumph and great promise ahead of him.

We lost Will last night in a two-car head-on collision on South Grade Road Monday night around 8 p.m.

Will was sitting in the back of a Jeep Wrangler, where there are no seatbelts. He was ejected during the crash and was killed.

Burton was traveling following the team banquet, possibly with at least one teammate. He was the only fatality.

Just late Saturday night, Burton was named to the All-San Diego CIF first team as a defensive end.

I personally met William Burton on the Eagles’ field during a practice two weeks before the kickoff of the regular season.

He told me he had heard interest from schools such as Washington, UCLA, Oregon State and Wyoming.

I questioned young William about what he wanted to do if he did have to use a secondary plan, if an injury should arise or just wanted to try a different route.

“I would love to serve my country,” said Burton.

This fine young man not only had great scholarship opportunities, but was just a kind young man on and off the field.

“Will was more than just my teammate and my friend,” said Granite Hills senior quarterback JAKE SIEGFRIED. “He was a true blood brother. He was one of a kind and will be missed by everyone he knew.

“The sophomore sensations live on!”

Burton, known primarily for his defensive prowess as a pash rusher, came up with the most thrilling play of the season on a game-winning touchdown reception from Siegfried against Steele Canyon in September.

Will was also a fine pitcher for head coach JAMES DAVIS’ CIF champion Granite Hills team, touching the 90s with his fastball on a staff of elite area prep pitching talent.

“Honestly at a loss for words, he was a great kid with a bright future, prayers to his family,” said Will’s head football coach at Granite Hills, KELLAN COBBS.

Will was guarded tightly by Steele Canyon’s Anthony Guy but he still caught the game-winning touchdown.

Burton was scheduled to participate in the upcoming Blue-Gray All-American Bowl series at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

Before the season, Burton said how excited he was and looking forward to playing in that event.

As an Eagle myself, I felt Burton and his Eagle team this year became mine during this special season after my 12-year old was introduced to Burton when Will reached out to my son and me after my Dad had passed away and give us his personal condolences.

My heart goes out to all the Eagles, friends, and Burton family.

They are all in my family’s prayers and that of the East County sports community, as well.

You will be missed and never forgotten.

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