PLAQUEMINE - Davante Williams has heard the stories over the years from his uncles about the exploits of his father, Terrance Williams, on the basketball court.
They expressed to Williams about the high-scoring exploits of his dad during his days at Plaquemine High School - the type of ability that say earned him a scholarship offer from Oklahoma State.
“They told me he was one of the best players they saw at that time,” Williams said. “I saw some old articles, and he used to score a lot of points.”
The athleticism Terrance Williams handed down to Davante is evident as Davante is now a four-sport athlete at St. John of Plaquemine.
While basketball is among those sports, along with track and baseball, the younger Williams has made his mark in football, where he’ll lead St. John into its season opener Thursday at 7 p.m. against Belaire at Olympia Stadium.
It will also be commonplace to find Williams wearing eye-black patches with the inscription: T.W. 14. That’s the way Davante pays homage to his father, whose basketball number was 14, after he passed away from complications of a stroke when Davante was just nine.
“I play for him,” Williams said. “I know he’s watching over me. I know he’s probably happy with what his baby boys are doing out there. It was hard losing him when I did but I still got that athleticism from him.”
Williams’ older brother - T.J. - was a standout linebacker for St. John and played on the Eagles last team that played for the Class 1A state championship in 2006. T.J., who first attended Southeastern, has transferred to Baton Rouge Community College and for the second year is serving as a CECP coach for his brother’s team.
The two brothers reveled in the opportunity to play together for the first time in 2007, but the return of T.J. to help coach the Eagles’ linebackers has provided Davante with a deeper meaning of their relationship.
“I learned most of what I know from watching my brother,” Williams said. “I’m thankful for him being there because he’s more like a father figure to me. He’s taught me the ropes day-in and day-out, and I love him for that.”
For the third straight season, St. John will lean on Williams for production in all facets of the game.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder will be the Eagles’ only two-way starter and play both quarterback and wingback on offense, safety on defense and be involved in special teams play.
“He does what we need to do,” St. John football coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche said. “We use him to get the yards and we use him as a decoy, too. We know most eyes on defense know where he’s at all the time, and he’s earned that respect from the people we play.”
Williams, who has scholarship offers from North Texas and Grambling, earned first team all-district honors on both offense and defense last season.
With St. John experiencing a litany of injuries that claimed 11 starters by the sixth week of the season, Williams turned in his most productive year with more than 1,600 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had 275 yards receiving and three more TDs and accounted for two more scores on defense with a fumble and interception return.
Williams now finds himself on the brink of becoming the school’s career rushing leader with 2,529 yards. After surpassing Timmy Bracken (2,100), Williams has his sights on trying to eclipse the 4,110 yards and 49 TDs of Jonta Price.
“Well, it hadn’t been a goal of mine, but now that I’m close to the rushing record, I’m making it that a goal for me,” Williams said. “The most important goal on my mind, though, is winning the district championship and state championship.”
St. John, took the first unofficial step in that process last Friday with a 16-12 victory over St. Michael the Archangel in the All-Catholic Jamboree at Majella Field. Williams directed the Eagles on an opening 80-yard scoring drive at quarterback, then moved to the backfield when sophomore Hunter Scheblen drove the team 70 yards for the winning score.
That latter led to a warm embrace for the Williams brothers on the sideline afterward.
“He’s there for me, and I love having him on the sideline,” Davante said. “After that St. Michael game we were both going crazy jumping up and down. It was one of those brother moments, which I’m sure my dad was watching.”