Athens Academy senior defensive back Trey Willis recorded five tackles and an interception in the Spartans' win.

Athens Academy senior defensive back Trey Willis’ late great-grandfather, Ora Lee Johnson, had a love for the game of football.

Willis, who considered himself more of a basketball player early in his life, was won over by his great-grandfather’s love of the sport.

Before his passing, Willis remembers his passion for the sport and the interest he showed in how his young great-grandson was performing at the game. Over the years Willis’ love and dedication to the sport has grown in part because of those conversations.

“He was a huge role model for me,” Willis said. “He was always checking up on my games. He used to love football. He was one of the reasons why I started loving football and taking it seriously. It’s very emotional when I think about it. I know he’s there, helping me make the right calls, watching the game and watching over me as I play.”

Willis’ family has been a key pillar in the choices he’s made for himself in his young life. Willis was at Athens Academy for his first two years of high school before he transferred to Clarke Central High School where he played his junior season with the Gladiators.

Prior to the start of the 2019 season, Willis transferred back to Athens Academy. His high school education was the first thing he considered and what going back to a private school could do for him academically.

Willis’ family stood by him in both of his decisions.

“Family is very important to me,” Willis said. “We’ve been through so much and their support that they bring and provide for me is just unbelievable. I’ve tried to strive to everything I can to pay them back in a way. They’ve always supported me, thinking positive and trying to wish for the best. My family being there for me has made me realize the greater aspects of life and how I can translate into the football world.”

Willis made his presence known for the Spartans on Friday night. Willis helped the Spartans’ defense hold the high-powered Hebron Christian offense to 244 total yards. Willis had five tackles and an interception. His performance has made Willis this week’s Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week.

Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week is chosen by the sports staff of The Oconee Enterprise. You are welcome to email nominations to by Monday at 10 a.m.

Oconee Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation can be reached at

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