'We're going to miss you, buddy:' Youth football team dedicates season to fallen teammate

Monday, December 2, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AIKEN, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Nine-year-old Colton Williams tragically lost his life in a hunting accident  over Thanksgiving. Monday night, his football teammates and competitors gathered on the field for the first since his death.

This past season, Williams' football team made it all the way to the championship. This year is the first time he was hand-selected to play on the all-star team, consisting of the best players from around the area. Today at their first practice, Williams' absence was certainly felt.

"Let's just honor this all-star season to Colton," said Coach Andre Young as the all-star team huddled around him before practice.

Young coached Williams for two seasons before this one, and was going to coach him for the third time on the all-star team.

"Colton was outstanding, exuberant, outgoing, leader among leaders, led by example," he said.

Young says in addition to loving hunting and fishing, Colton always talked about football and was going to be the team's center.

While being a coach is tough, Young says the job of answering his team's questions has been the hardest of all.

"When did it happen, why did it happen, who done it? Explaining that part to them was harder than anything because it was truly an accident," said Young.

Teammates like Randy Robinson say Williams was a leader on the field and a friend off it.

"Me and Colton had this little connection. Me and Colton had this competitive side and then we had this - we're together side," said Robinson.

Williams' loss was in the back of the team's minds as they took the field for the first time without him.

"It was hard, because to see my best friend in a casket, it was hard," said Robinson.

As the team moves on to play a season dedicated to Colton, they want to send one final message of love to his family.

"I don't want to get choked up. We're going to miss you, buddy. We love you," said Young.

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