An hour and a half before Friday's playoff game kickoff, Gainesville High's Hunter Sims said Lemi Williams was "as happy as I've ever saw him," following an article focused on the senior linebacker that appeared Friday in The Times.
The story focused on Williams' family and the senior's struggle to pay bills while leading the Red Elephants to a state playoff berth inspired a GoFundMe page that had raised $1,250 as of 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The donation page was created by Kris Montague, a teammate and friend of Williams. Gainesville plays Alexander tonight at City Park Stadium in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
"Lemi's as happy as I've ever seen him," said Sims. "He can tell that the neighborhood, the community's been talking about him, everyone."
Sims mentioned that his brother, Gainesville High graduate and former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, would soon be starting a GoFundMe page of his own.
"Blake always wants to help out the community, and he definitely wants to help out Lemi," said Hunter. "He's looking out not only for my friends, but the people he's close to."