Winning for William

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Friday morning brought unexpected and tragic news.

A friend, William Danley, had suddenly passed away taken from his wife, two sons, stepson, family and friends.

William, 43, was one of a kind, a person that could light up a room with a smile and always wanted to get a laugh.

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In a word, he could be described as emphatic. He always brought people in with his stories because of the way he told them.

He was always excited when telling someone a story. Even if it was just about the nice, new shoes he had gotten for a great deal. His middle son, Jacob, said he talked about his shoes one time for three or four days. He had purchased them for $50.

He was that way up until he was taken from those who loved and cared about him.

The news brought tears to the eyes of people all over, but even in the saddest moments, even more proud moments can reveal themselves.

Only hours after William’s passing, his youngest son, 17-year-old Hunter Danley made a brave, heartfelt choice.

Hunter, a junior at Sheffield High School and the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, made the choice to play for his team in Friday night’s homecoming game against the Elkmont Red Devils.

When it comes to a decision like that, some people could choose to take the field, but not many 17-year-old teenagers have to decide or would decide to do that.

Hunter decided he would though because he knew his father would want him back on that field.

So for 48 minutes last Friday night, Hunter stepped out of the chaos and back into his reality.

With the entire stadium and his teammates behind him, he led Sheffield to a 28-7 win over Elkmont. He even scored a touchdown.

His touchdown was the first of the game and came on a 39-yard run. He took the snap rolled out to the right, but didn’t see anything open. In a moment of greatness, he tucked the ball in and headed up field. After 10 yards he cut across to the left and finished his run with a dive for the pylon.

After scoring, Hunter celebrated with his team then made his way to the fence to hug his mother, Jennifer. She would be presented the game ball in the locker room following the game.

Forty-eight minutes of winning a football game might not cover up the pain of losing a father, but sure can do a lot to make him proud.

For most other high school football players last Friday, it was just another normal game day, but for Hunter Danley, it was the greatest game in a still young career.

Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or by e-mail at