Dawgs snag top honors in area|[12/24/2005]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The loss stung, no doubt about.

Hinds AHS has run the table during the regular prep football season, compiling a 10-0 record, top seed in Division 6-2A and were doing it with a high-powered offense and stingy defense.

Then came Bassfield, on the War Dawgs’s turf, dealing a crushing 22-19 defeat that ended a season built on hopes of a state championship.

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”Everyone was shocked, I know I was,” said Albert Williams, a four-year starter at running back. &#8220We were 10-0 and undefeated. We just couldn’t do it.”

Despite losing in the first round of the playoffs, Williams along with Hinds AHS coach Michael Fields earned Vicksburg Post Player and Coach of the Year honors. It is Fields’ second award.

It’s fitting, perhaps, that the coach and player who arrived at HAHS at the same time should collect the awards.

Fields arrived in Utica after a stint coaching Raymond’s football team. His first season, the War Dawgs went 4-7, but the seeds had been planted. Williams was well on his way to 1,000 yards when the first of several leg injuries sidelined him for a good portion of the season.

He came back as a sophomore and continued to battle nagging injuries. But when he was in the game, the lightning quick 5-foot, 7-inch back was as dangerous as anyone.

&#8220When Albert came in her as a freshman, he and several others set out to improve this program,” Fields said. &#8220He has worked hard since the day he got here and I hope the younger guys have seen that.”

After another injury in his junior year, Williams set out to make the most of his final high school season.

He finished third among area running backs with 1,154 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 7.4 yards per carry average.

He helped the War Dawgs average more than 40 points per game and teamed with quarterback Larry Jones to score 36 TDs.

His work did not go unnoticed as several colleges are looking to land the diminutive running back. He lists Alabama State, Tuskeegee and Jackson State as his top college choices.

Fields, meanwhile, is preparing for the upcoming powerlifting and track seasons, before settling in for another football season.

&#8220It’s just working hard. We have to continue to work hard and not let up,” he said.