Greenville football coach fights more than opponents - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Greenville football coach fights more than opponents

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It's another big night of high school football in Georgia.

The playoffs are in full swing for some of the best teams in the state.

The town of Greenville is cheering on their Patriots, who are undefeated.

But the man who leads this team is the one truly defying the odds.

At 38 years old, Jeremy Williams has faced a lot of battles.

Tonight, his Greenville Patriots look to keep a perfect season alive.

But it's Williams' battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, that may prove to be the toughest opponent of all.

"I try not to let it bother what we do -- and we really don't talk about it," Williams said.

His speech, now slurred because of the disease, hasn't stopped him from doing what he loves. But as his team has progressed through its perfect season, so has the attention to his illness.

From street corners, to the local bank, even to places outside of this small town, there are signs of support.

Sonya Gasses works at the Greenville Banking Company.

"And that kind of gives us a little extra -- want to do a little more, to show our support in him as well, because his story is so encouraging to all of us," Gasses said.

"With different people calling from CNN, all these people, y'all wait! My job for those guys is to concentrate on winning football games," Williams said.

And they have.

Diagnosed in 2008, Williams' muscles do not resemble those of a man who played college football.

A man who once embodied physical perfection is now forced to rely on others for strength.

But it is a battle this team and this town are ready to fight.

"My kids just love to battle. That's all I've ever done, through my high school years at Kendrick, Memphis, in whatever we do, we're going to fight. And that's what we're going to keep doing, whatever happens, happens. But we're going to keep fighting," Williams said.

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