Newest Bacone College Warrior is ex-Leopard Harry Williams

Hernando High’s Harry Williams inks with NAIA’s Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma flanked by his mother Demetris Williams and stepfather Kevin Fagin. Photo provided

WRESTLING

How scary is Harry?

Voted All-Hernando

County in football, wrestling

BY TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Since female athletes develop a lot sooner than most of their male counterparts, there seems to be more male late bloomers.

One such local student/athlete is recent Hernando High graduate Harry Deshawn Williams.

Harry Williams
Harry Williams

Williams, 18, is coming off his best-ever prep campaigns in both football and wrestling.

How good?

Bacone College Warriors
Bacone College Warriors

The 5-foot-10, 186-pounder was one of a handful of Hernando County male athletes named All-Hernando County in multiple venues: the gridiron and the mats.

To his athletic prowess, Williams signed on to wrestle next school year with the NAIA’s Bacone College Warriors in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Williams 411

Harry, who was born as the second oldest of three boys, has resided in Brooksville his entire life, mostly his mother, Demetris Williams, and stepfather Kevin Fagin.

Alvin Delaine III
Alvin “Chubbs” Delaine III

Many in the local community know of the exploits his older brother Alvin “Chubbs” Delaine III, Hernando County’s two-time Football Player of the Year from 2009-10.

The raven-haired and brown-eyed Williams didn’t play any organized sports until attending Parrott Middle School.

As an eighth-grader, he played football, mostly as a defensive tackle.

Once he matriculated to the Bell Avenue campus of Hernando High, he latched on to football for the next four seasons,.

He played junior varsity ball as a freshman and a sophomore. He was promoted to varsity in his second season and saw action at tailback, cornerback and safety.

As a junior and a senior, he was a two-year varsity starter under skipper Bill Vonada.

Williams settled in at cornerback and defensive end as a junior before moving over to middle linebacker and defensive end as a senior.

He ranked eighth on the team in tackles in 2015 with 36.

He improved to fifth on the squad in 2016 behind 47 total tackle highlighted by six tackles for a loss, one sack, three caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Bill Vonada Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Bill Vonada                                         Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

In achieving All-County football, Vonada described Williams, “Not the fastest player on the field but a good, athletic guy … Good overall package … Our system allowed him to make plays. … Great leader on the team, very vocal … Has a great demeanor; I’ve never seen him down … Has a knack of picking guys up around him. Type of player whose demeanor is contagious.”

Williams also played JV hoops as a freshman before sinking his teeth into the mats for his last three seasons.

He had a cup of coffee on the varsity level as a sophomore: going 0-2.

From that summer on, Williams began to hone his mat craft.

Over his last two seasons at 182 pounds under David Pritz, Williams claimed 74 wins across 112 bouts (winning 66 percent), notching 51 pin falls.

David Pritz
David Pritz

He coincidentally led the county in pins in 2016-17 (30).

Twice in that stretch, Williams reached the Class 1A State Finals in Kissimmee.

“For a three-year wrestler, he went to states twice,” admired Pritz, himself a three-time state placer, who didn’t finish his freshman year after blowing out his elbow. “He allowed a lot of the guys to lighten up … In practice, he was never a problem, he kept everything light-hearted … Ability-wise, he hasn’t touched his athletic ceiling … I hope it works out for him at the next level.”

Williams’ love for wrestling

Harry Williams  Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Harry Williams
Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“My favorite sport had always been football,” insisted Williams. “But once I got into it (wrestling), I liked it.“

Just the nature of wrestling has enabled Williams to compete at his full potential in football.

“My confidence has improved tremendously,” noted Williams. “There’s a certain attitude involved with wrestling. Two guys might step on the mat, but only one guy is coming off a winner.”

“My favorite part? It’s probably taking kids down,” grinned Williams. “When I first came into the room, I was the smallest guy in my weight class. I think a lot of people underestimated me.

“…I realized a lot of people can play football, but not everyone can work hard to become somebody on the mats,” said Williams.

Williams credited 2016 All-Hernando County Wrestler and Weightlifter of the Year Abel Terkovich for learning the ropes.

“Abel used to beat on me every day and coach (Pritz) would always have me wrestle the heavyweight guys (like Robert Graves),” recalled Williams. “As a junior, nobody expected me to go to states.

“This year, I knew I had to make it count. I spent so much of my time in off-season tournaments, so I could work through things.”

Asked to reveal inner strength, “It’s my mental toughness,“ identified Williams. “I don’t care who I have to wrestle. Nobody bothers me.”

Harry Williams
Hernando High’s Harry Williams.                                                               Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Williams does have one regret: not peaking out at states in Osceola County. He finished a combined 1-4 at the Silver Spurs Arena.

“I can’t figure out what happened to me,” queried Williams about his 2017 1-2 run. “I was a match away from placing when I sprained my ankle. It wasn’t great entering the tournament.

“This year I walked into states with some confidence. Last year was much tougher. Nobody expected me to get there,” he recalled. “There were so many good underclassmen.”

“I was not satisfied with my season,” explained Williams. “That’s why I want to keep working. I’ve done a better job of understanding the game. I’ve used my freestyle and Greco-Roman moves to get people on their backs.”

Though Williams stuck nearly 69 percent of his opponents, he didn’t consider himself a pinner.

“Pins really are not that important,” shrugged Williams. “To me, winning and finishing off matches are much more important.”

Williams believes he was part of something special.

His senior mat squad was first Leopard team to win districts since Pritz competed for the school, 12 years ago under Matt Smith and Bill Combs Sr..

Additionally, the Leopards’ second-place regional trophy this winter matched the school’s best set nine years ago under Joe McLain.

“Our goal all year was to win the district championship,” emphasized Williams. “Anything could happen. We were all friends on the team and we came together and started wrecking people.”

Rewinding his prep career for the most memorable moments, “It had to be going to states as a junior,” shared Williams. “When I first walked into the building it was like ‘Wow. I’m here!’

“As a senior winning my first gold medal at Citrus High (12th Ed Kilpatrick Tourney) was big. I had never won an IBT (individually bracketed tournament) before,” noted Williams, who came eerily close finishing runner-up at the Kiwanis and Springstead Invitationals. “Then losing my last match at states really hurt. I heard a pop in my ankle and I couldn’t move. I had to be helped off the mat.”

Landing at Bacone College

In the classroom, Williams’ early academic difficulties led to him graduating with a 2.2 grade point average.

His favorite course was biology.

He’d like to study psychology in college.

Bacone College
Bacone College

Williams was initially attempting to land at Southeastern College in Lakeland, but the Bacone College coaches “stayed in touch.”

“They’ve got a lot of state qualifiers there,” said William. “I’m a very positive person; I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m ready.

“My studies are very important,” added Williams. “Deep down, do I wish I could play football? Sure, but I’m too small.”

Before traversing 16 hours and some 1,154 miles to Bacone College, Williams plans on staying active with off-season tournaments.

“I’m ready for what’s next,” offered Williams. “My mom knows what I want. Seeing her smile makes me happy.”

“I’m gonna miss the seniors; they were my homies,” smiled Williams. “We‘ve all got our plans. We‘re all working hard in our own ways. I know we’ll stay in touch.”

On his legacy, “I‘d liked to be remembered as an all-around good friend, good student and good teammate,” insisted Williams. “Really just as an all-around good kid.”

By the Numbers:

Hernando High’s Harry Williams (2014-17)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Harry Williams
Harry Williams
 

YEAR

 

YR

 

W

 

L

 

.PCT

 

PINS

2014-15

10

0

2

.000

0

2015-16*

11

32

26

.552

21

2016-17*^

12

42

12

.778

30#

 

TOTALS

 

74

 

40

 

.649

 

51

* Denotes state qualifier.

# Denotes county leader.

^ Denotes All-Hernando County selection.

 

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