THS football player, cheerleader ink scholarships

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Two Thompson High School athletes will continue their careers at the next level, after signing a pair of scholarships during a May 12 ceremony in the school’s library.

Finishing off a week filled with athletic signings at the school, THS football player Ar’Shon Willis inked with Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, California, and THS cheerleader Taylor Thomas put her signature on an offer from Jacksonville State University.

Willis, who transferred to Thompson from Vincent High School in 2015, recently finished a successful career playing in the Warriors’ defensive secondary.

“Your hard work has obviously paid off, and we’re happy that you came our way to Thompson. We hope you find a little something from what you’ve gained during your time with us, because we’ve certainly gained a lot from you,” said THS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester. “We’re very blessed to have had you here.”

“Since the day he walked in, he was always smiling, always happy,” said THS head football coach Mark Freeman. “There was nothing that we asked him to do that he didn’t do to the best of his ability. I’m glad he’s been blessed with this opportunity, and I’m going to miss Ar’Shon.”

For Willis, being surrounded by friends, family members and teammates served as the perfect setting for his signing ceremony.

“I want to thank God for giving me the ability to play football, and my mom for always being there for me through thick and thin and hard times,” Willis said. “I want to thank my family for raising me right, and my teammates and all my friends.”

Thomas will stay a little closer to home while pursuing her college education and future cheerleading aspirations.

“Jacksonville State has a very highly regarded, strong cheer program,” Hester said, as the JSU mascot, Cocky the Gamecock, danced next to the signing table. “Taylor, we are very proud of you, and this is more evidence of the hard work you put in.”

“Taylor has been part of our program for four years, and has been a huge asset,” added THS cheer advisor Heather Myles. “We are sad to see you go, but we’re excited to see what you do at the next level.”

Thomas said she is looking forward to cheering for a storied and successful athletic program at JSU.

“I want to thank everyone for coming today, and thank God for this opportunity,” Thomas said. “I’m excited to cheer on the Gamecocks this season.”