(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
EAST PRAIRIE -- Coming into his senior season, East Prairie running back MC Williams had several goals that he set in his mind. As he took his pads off for the last time as an Eagle, he felt like he had accomplished just about everything that he set his sights upon.
"Most of my goals were reached," said Williams, the 2008 Standard Democrat football Player of the Year. "I wanted to get into the state playoffs a little more, but we just didn't come out ready to play and we weren't focused."
Williams said that he and his club overlooked the smaller Malden Green Wave squad that pulled off an upset to advance, leaving the 6-4 East Prairie Eagles packing up for the season. He also said that he learned a lot from that game, not just about himself and football, but life lessons as well.
"They (Malden) weren't as good as we were, so we kind of overlooked them," said Williams. "That's one thing I've learned in life, to not overlook small obstacles, because they can jump up and bite you."
Williams, a 5-9 senior running back, may have been overlooked several times throughout his career because of his smaller build, but the East Prairie teenager got the best of several of his opponents as he racked up stellar numbers in his final campaign. He led the area with 226 total points on 32 touchdowns and had 26 extra point kicks and four two-point conversions. He compiled 2,116 rushing yards on 245 carries, an average of 8.64 yards per carry and 211.6 yards per game.
Williams attributed his success to his head coach, Jason Aycock, and his offensive line up front that paved the way for his solid season.
"Our offensive line played well all season," he said. "They blocked well and they gave me and JJ (Jordan Jarrett) chances to go out and make plays for the team. They put us in good situations in all of our games."
As for Aycock, Williams said that he played a huge role in his high school success both on the field and mentally.
"I wouldn't take another coach," said Williams. "He really got on me about getting in the weight room. After I broke my ankle my freshman year, I didn't really life weights because I was more timid about my ankle, but he told me to go after it. I got in the weight room my junior year and last year, my senior year, and it's really improved me on my speed and my agility and how I'm able to cut as quick and as much as I do."
Aycock said that his running back was a special player for the program as well as his staff to have for the last four years. Williams joins the 2007 Standard Democrat Male Athlete of the Year, Tony Jones, as the second Eagle honored in two years.
"We've been very fortunate to coach two good athletes such as Tony and MC," said Aycock. "They come every once in a while here at East Prairie. To have two athletes such as these, two years in a row, we've been very fortunate as coaches to get to coach those types of players."
Aycock said that he believes that receiving post season honors helps not just the player but the community as well.
"It's something for the younger kids to see that even though you're from a small town and a small school that you're still able to receive such a high honor as this," he said. "I feel like that's a good tool to show the younger kids that if you work hard and get your name out there then hopefully that will help you at the college ranks too, to get some attention."
Williams now has his mind set on basketball, but college decisions will be looming soon for the standout.
"I love East Prairie," said Williams. "I wouldn't mind coming back again to play, I wish I could, but I've got to move on now. I love it here, the community treated me great. Every time they saw me they said 'Great game MC.' They're just great to the whole football team."