NHS alumnus has strong season at middle linebacker for Co-Lin
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original story ran with incorrect photo information. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight.
WESSON — A proper mindset made a world of difference for former Natchez High School linebacker Raymond Williams.
Williams just completed his sophomore season with Copiah-Lincoln Community College, a season in which the team won the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges state championship. With a sense of togetherness and a chip on their shoulders, Williams said the Wolfpack had its sights set on the ultimate prize.
“I feel like we were more together this year,” Williams said. “Everyone had a mindset that they wanted to win it all, because we were the underdogs the whole year.”
With people doubting the Wolfpack throughout the season, Williams said the players took it personally and set out to prove the naysayers wrong.
“We weren’t ranked this season, and we came in fighting each week,” Williams said. “Even after we beat teams like Hinds, Jones and other teams we played, we were still the underdogs.”
But no one on the Wolfpack doubted themselves, Williams said.
“We felt like we had a good team with a lot of people coming back that had played some (last season), Williams said. “We felt like we should have been one of the teams acknowledged as one of the teams to compete in the South division or even state, so it was a reason to come to practice and work harder.”
After starting just several games last season, Williams was the starting inside linebacker for Co-Lin the entire season this fall. Williams referred to his position as the “quick backer” and laughed at the thought of him being referred to as quick.
“I’m not the fastest, but I guess (I was) a little quick,” Williams said, chuckling.
After an offseason of conditioning, Williams said he was better prepared for the grind of a long season this fall.
“I would say I became more focused and learned what I had to do to play week in and week out and take care of my body better with conditioning and stuff like that,” he said. “We had a really tough offseason.”
As for how he would evaluate his season, Williams said it was a successful one personally.
“I feel like I brought some energy, and I feel like I stopped the inside run,” he said.
Being alongside former NHS players like Jeremy Davis and Brian Isaac, all of whom made significant contributions to the Wolfpack this season, was a source of pride for Williams, he said.
“We always talk about how we went to Natchez High and how we have to represent,” Williams said. “Playing football at Natchez High ain’t no joke. It makes you into a man.”
Though he wasn’t able to attend any Bulldog games this fall, Williams said he watched his alma mater’s game against Petal High School online and kept up with the team.
“I was shocked when they didn’t make the playoffs,” Williams said. “I guess the competition in their division is stacked. You have teams like Petal, Oak Grove and Hattiesburg, so you have to win more games just to be the No. 4 seed.”
Though he’s no longer a Bulldog, Williams said he still keeps up with NHS head coach Lance Reed every now and then.
“Coach Reed is a good guy, and I look up to him and respect him a lot,” Williams said. “He’s a good person to be coached by.”
Williams said he plans to continue his football career but hasn’t decided which school to which he wants to transfer. Wherever he does end up, Williams said he wants to study accounting.