Adams County Christian School senior student-athlete wins $3,000 scholarship
NATCHEZ — The National Football Foundation’s 39th Annual Scholarship Awards Banquet was held on Thursday night.
Approximately 160 people filled the banquet room at Hotel Vue to watch six senior student-athletes receive scholarship awards.
The scholarships ranged from $1,000-$3,000, including one scholarship for $3,000, one for $2,250 and two scholarships for $1,750 and two for $1,000.
Adams County Christian School’s Cooper Williams won the $3,000 scholarship.
Williams played offensive tackle for the Rebels this past season.
“It’s an incredible honor because going into this football season I never expected to really play the whole season,” Williams said. “I expected to play maybe a quarter or two a game with my heart condition.”
Williams has aortic stenosis, a heart condition.
According to the American Heart Association, aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve opening in the heart. Aortic stenosis is one of the most common and serious valve disease problems.
This past Christmas, Williams said he went into a hospital to have open-heart surgery. A mechanical valve was put inside his heart.
“It’s really humbling to get out there and do an activity that you love, no matter the odds,” Williams said. “I’m speaking to anyone out there that has anything that they’re facing and there’s nothing out there that’s impossible to overcome. There’s always going to be adversities but you always have to look at the positives and keep going forward.”
David King, head football coach for ACCS, introduced Williams to the audience at the awards banquet before Williams received the award.
“It’s just a honor and inspiration to me to see a young man who was able to play through adversity,” King said. “There were times in the season when his condition would worsen and he would shut football down for a bit. The perseverance, intensity and the great work ethic Cooper showed was all there. His ability to see things in a positive light is what separates him from most people. It was an honor to coach him.”
Christopher Johnson, from Cathedral High School, earned the $2,250 scholarship. Johnson played left guard, defensive tackle and kicker for the Green Wave.
Desnick Bolden, Natchez High School, and Roderick Ray Ransom Jr., Vidalia High School, each were awarded the $1,750 scholarship.
Rob Faircloth, Vidalia High head football coach, said the 2019-20 football season was Ransom’s first season playing football.
Ny’Kell Brooks, Delta Charter School, and Kobe Dillon, Ferriday High School, were both granted $1,000 scholarships.
Six junior high and middle school football players were each given a plaque for their achievements on the football field and in the classroom.
John Cohen, Athletic Director at Mississippi State University, was the keynote speaker. Cohen told the audience in attendance what word he likes the most.
“Here’s a word we all struggle with and it’s really important to me and it is pride,” Cohen said. “Pride can be a good word and a terrible word. For example, pride in in this community in Natchez is a wonderful thing and pride in your team is a wonderful thing. But selfish individual pride is what really hurts a community and your school.”
Two other awards were given on the night. Catherine Fortunato and Nancy Kuehnle each received the Contributions to Amateur Football award.
Clarence Bowlin received the Distinguished American award.