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Ferriday quarterback ready to return to field after injury

Ferriday High School quarterback Ronald Williams, above, is ready to start the new football season in his sophomore year after being sidelined during most of his freshman year with a broken collarbone. (Thomas Graning / The Natchez Democrat)
Ferriday High School quarterback Ronald Williams, above, is ready to start the new football season in his sophomore year after being sidelined during most of his freshman year with a broken collarbone. (Thomas Graning / The Natchez Democrat)

FERRIDAY — Ferriday head coach Cleothis Cummings watched his young quarterback mature in the spring and earn the starting quarterback job. He, along with those who gathered to watch Ferriday’s first game of the season against Natchez, witnessed him complete 13-of-22 passes for 261 yards against the biggest school Ferriday would face on the schedule. Suddenly, Natchez and Ferriday were engaged in an old-school junkyard dogfight, but Ferriday fans’ applause would be silenced in the 36-22 loss.

Just like a slow-motion picture, Cummings stood on the sidelines and watched two Natchez defenders close in on Williams from opposite sides and plant Ferriday’s quarterback into the ground. Cummings knew immediately that his quarterback was coming out of the game, and soon after he would find out that Williams’ freshman season would be ended with the punishing blow. Williams was diagnosed with two fractures in the collarbone of his throwing shoulder.

“A major blow like that throws you back,” said Cummings, whose Trojans would finish the 2013 season with a 3-8 record.

As a result, Ferriday’s season took a nosedive, as Cummings was forced to insert skill players Ronald Davis and Shannon Morales at quarterback.

Williams took the injury in stride and worked toward making a return later that season.

“It’s part of the game,” said Williams, as he reflected on the hit.

After nine weeks of recovery, Williams returned to the field against Oak Grove in a playoff game, but he admitted he was about 80 percent for that contest. Nonetheless, Cummings liked the effort and appreciated his player’s toughness in the 47-8 loss.

“He took a couple of shots, but he completed some nice passes,” Cummings said. “I knew then that he would be back 100 percent by the summer.”

Nearly one year later, Cummings has a veteran bunch at quarterback and a healthy Williams, who will be the starter in his sophomore campaign.

Williams has had an active offseason, lifting weights and participating alongside his teammates in running bleachers, gassers and 100-yard sprints.

Then, following his early morning conditioning and weights, Williams picks up a football and does what he’ll be doing a lot of this season, throws to his favorite targets.

Like a sponge, as Cummings put it, Williams has settled into his starting role with the offense and has absorbed Cummings’ philosophy. That, along with building muscle mass, which Cummings preached to him about often this offseason, has Williams and Cummings excited about what’s in store for the Trojans in 2014.

“I’m getting faster, getting stronger,” Williams said. “I feel more comfortable with my team. I’m at 100 percent right now, and I’m just ready for the season.

“We’re going to look better this season. I’m with people I’ve played with my whole life.”