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Loyd Star’s Williams learns linebacker fast

Nathan Williams didn’t have much time to learn his new positionat middle linebacker but the Loyd Star senior responded like achampion. In Loyd Star’s season-opening 13-12 win over the McClainMustangs of Lexington, Williams produced a pair of big plays ondefense with an interception and a fumble recovery in the red zone.He also had 7 solo tackles and 15 assists for the Hornets.

For his performance, Williams has been selected The DAILYLEADER’s Defensive Player of the Week.

“Nathan is a tenacious player,” said Loyd Star head coach RyanRoss. “He hustles every play.”

Williams (6-1, 182, sr.) boasts a 29 on his ACT and a 3.9 GPA.That mindset helped him quickly grasp the intricacies of playingmiddle linebacker after switching from defensive end.

“Nathan is a physical style player,” said Ross. “He understandsthat we want to play downhill. He has enough hustle to run sidelineto sideline and make the play.”

Making big plays Friday night on a muddy, rain-swollen field,Williams took a big step forward. The game was delayed 55 minutesdue to a severe thunderstorm.

“It was good to get our first win against somebody stronger thanWest Lincoln,” said Williams. The Class 2A Hornets had overpoweredClass 1A West Lincoln for several years in the annual seasonopener.

Asked about his new position and new No. 50 jersey number,Williams said, “You can see the field and go both ways. In thesecond half, I started to feel comfortable at linebacker.”

He had seen some duty at receiver last season and wore No. 9.He’ll celebrate his 18th birthday Sept. 21.

Williams intercepted a McClain pass in the end zone to kill atouchdown threat and he recovered a fumble at Loyd Star’s 5-yardline.

“Our defense made a bunch of stands,” said Williams. “We pulledtogether.”

Josh Thibodeaux, former Loyd Star head coach, remains on staffas the team’s defensive coordinator. Williams said the new 3-3stack defense appealed to him. “It’s pretty slick. It puts you inthe right place to make plays.”

Williams said Ross has brought a new attitude and work ethic tothe program. The Hornets practiced four hours Monday on Labor Day,from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “It was a run day, too. Coach Ross pushes usharder than anybody.”

An avid hunter and fisherman, Williams enjoys playing Halo IIvideo game with his teammates before going to practice. “It getspretty intense.”

He also plays baseball for Loyd Star as a designated hitter andleftfielder.

Looking to the future, Williams said he wants Loyd Star to makethe state playoffs. He plans to attend Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege next year and perhaps transfer to Southern Miss. His goalis to attend UMC and become an anesthesiologist.

His favorite NFL team is Green Bay. His grandfather has takenhim to a few Packer games.

Asked about his favorite NFL player, Williams said he likesGreen Bay quarterback Brett Favre and Chicago linebacker BrianUrlacher.

In school, Williams said he likes history best. He scored animpressive 500 in the state-wide test.

FAVORITES

Birthday: Sept. 21, 1989

Food: Pepperoni pizza.

Dessert: Cheesecake.

Subject: History.

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird.

Music/CD: Trent Thomas.

NFL Team: Green Bay Packers.

College: Southern Miss.

TV Show: ESPN SportsCenter.