ROXBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- When 21-year-old former Person High School standout quarterback Antonio Williams died in a car crash Tuesday, it left the Roxboro community in disbelief as it coped with the sudden loss of a respected figure.
"Oh, I was in complete disbelief and shock," former Person High coach David Kleine said. "You know, at first it was kind of like shaking off the cobwebs and, you know, getting my mind right to try to wrap myself around it. It was just something that I didn't believe."
Kleine said Williams was the kind of player you wanted on your team. He helped lead the Rockets to the state playoffs in 2015, ending a five-year drought.
"There wasn't anyone in Person County who, who is a Personian, that didn't know who "Yo Yo" was," Kleine said. "We're not even talking about on the football field. He was just a very special unique individual."
Dontavian Smith played with Williams, who was more than just a fellow team member.
"He had a good heart," Smith said. "A lot of people say they have good hearts, and like a lot of people have good hearts, they do have good hearts but like, if it was his last he's still going to give it to you. "
LIKE PART OF THE FAMILY
On the field, the two were teammates but off the field, they became brothers.
"When I got in like the ninth grade, I didn't have anywhere to live," Smith said. "I would like, every week before the week of school, like, I'd text Antonio 'can I just stay with you for the week? Can I just stay with you for a week?' and then, like, he was saying yeah, and then eventually like, his family ... let me move in like my sophomore year, and then ... they just start treating me like family, I became their brother. His mom became my mom. His dad became my dad. And like we just been a family like ever since.
"I really appreciate him for that because, like, he did something for me that you know a lot of people wouldn't do," Smith added. "We shared a room for three years. He slept on one side of the bed, I slept on one side of the bed. We were just close. We talked about everything about life or what to do in life."
The two continued to motivate each other as Williams created his own clothing line and detailing service and Smith went to UNC to run track and field.
"Our main goal was ... not make mom and dad have to work again," Smith said. "He's gone, but like, I ... feel like now, like, I still have to live up to my end of the bargain. Because like he's gone so ... I accept that slack."
'VERY MUCH A PEOPLE PERSON'
Williams had a charismatic quality about him said his former coach.
"Antonio is very well respected and a great number of friends," Kleine said. "Just a very much a people person. You were drawn to."
Kleine said Williams became a part of his family, and he thanked the Williams family for allowing him to be a brief part of his journey.
"I believe his impacts on my life have been far greater for me and my family," Kleine said.
Smith said he hoped to find motivation in his grief.
"I'm just going to miss him a lot," Smith said. "I always have motivation, but like, I feel like this is my senior year, like he really like just... put something inside me. I mean that like I've got to do it for him."
Roxboro community mourns the loss of former standout quarterback
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