This past Friday, Episcopal High School hosted the first annual Jimmy Williams 7v7 tournament. The event was put on by former Glen Oaks and sports event planner Yoruba Harrison for one purpose and that was to honor former Episcopal star and coach Jimmy Williams, who lost his battle with cancer in the summer of 2022.
Williams was a star athlete at Episcopal and later went on to not only be an All-SEC player for the Vanderbilt Commodores, but he also went on to play in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. After his career was over, Williams spent the rest of his life giving back to the community and school that helped him become a star by becoming a coach and a defensive coordinator for the Episcopal Knights.
Although gone, his mission is still being carried out by his wife Chandra and his son Ace as they provided a platform for players and teams to come and showcase their talents while also raising money and finding ways to give back to the teams. Giving back to kids and promoting the talent in the Baton Rouge area is something that Jimmy wanted to do.
To show how much of an impact Williams had on the Baton Rouge community, several Baton Rouge schools came together for a chance to compete while honoring one of their own. Notable Baton Rouge area programs that took part in the tournament included Southern Lab, Scotlandville, Istrouma, Donaldsonville, Woodlawn, and also an out of area team in Peabody that decided to fill in after a last minute dropout.
After a competitive 7v7 tournament, it came down to two Baton Rouge schools fighting for the right to win the inaugural Jimmy Williams 7v7 tournament. In the end, it was the Woodlawn Panthers that came up on top with the trophy. In this age of high scoring offenses, it was defense that helped win the day for the Panthers, which is something that Jimmy Williams himself would have wanted.
“The team played well. We gave up one touchdown on defense all day long. It was great to see the defense play so well. Our offense was able to move the ball and score. These were things that we were working on all summer long and to work on that in different tournaments and league play and have that play a role in our last 7v7 tournament of the summer, it was a great finish to it.”
“Both quarterbacks played well. They rotated for us every two series all day long. They both did well. I know we had some defensive guys. My son Cayden Randall had a key interception in the championship game that helped put us ahead. Ryan Brown had a lot of key catches. Justycya Turner was another guy that made some big catches for us offensively. I know the defensive guys in the way that they played helped us to have a good showing.”Woodlawn High School Head Coach Marcus Randall
For winning the 7v7 tournament, the Woodlawn football program received $1,500 while tournament runner-up Istrouma received $1,000 for finishing in second place. Coach Randall is not only proud of his team for winning the tournament, but also doing so in honor of Coach Jimmy Williams.
“What they put together in memory of Jimmy Williams and the things that he did for this community, for this city, I am sure he is smiling down on us and saying that this is exactly what he would have wanted.”Woodlawn High School Head Coach Marcus Randall
After all, what made Jimmy Williams special was not only his athletic ability and what a great player he was, but what kind of human being he was and the many lives he impacted. Episcopal High School athletic director Randy Richard can agree with Marcus by saying that Jimmy would be proud of the event that was put on and that there will be plenty of more events for years to come that will honor Episcopal’s legendary #8.
“I thought the tournament was exceptional and exactly what we envisioned when we first started planning. Glen Oaks football alum Yoruba Harrison did an excellent job of not only coordinating the event, but also creating an atmosphere that embodied the spirit of Jimmy. I mentioned to a few people throughout the day that the conversations that were going on were the same ones Jimmy would have with both colleagues and kids. It was good to see such healthy competition and talk with people I hadn’t seen in a long time. We look forward to continuing to host the event moving forward and likely expanding the number of teams.”Episcopal High School Athletic Director Randy Richard
Gridiron Football livestreamed a lot of the games throughout the day at the Jimmy Williams 7v7 Tournament. To watch the games including the championship game and championship presentation, click the game of your choosing below to watch.
Check out some of the photos taken by Will Strother during the Jimmy Williams 7v7 Tournament.