VALRICO — Last fall, DJ Williams was in tears at a Bloomingdale football game. He wasn't on the sideline but instead seated in the stands, the disappointment from the situation he put himself in too much for him to take. Frustrated that he again was academically ineligible to compete, at one point forced out of Bloomingdale and taking online courses and adult learning classes, Williams said he knew he had to fix his grades to be able to prove himself on the field. He had worked continuously since his freshman year to be in the right physical condition to play, but said it took a while to get things right in the classroom. Now a senior, Williams has earned his spot on the roster and is making up for lost time. But he still pauses to appreciate the moment."I went to one Bloomingdale football game (last year) and sat in the stands crying, I couldn't even watch it," Williams said. "Now playing I catch myself sometimes with tears, but they are tears of joy."Bloomingdale (2-0) has already improved on a 1-9 finish in 2015, and Williams has set the pace. In a 23-7 season-opening win against Newsome he rushed 21 times for 122 yards and a touchdown. Then in an overtime win over Gaither on Friday, he was held to 44 rushing yards by a strong defensive front, but made an impact by catching two second-quarter screen passes from junior quarterback Tyler Hunter, turning one into an 83-yard score. "DJ has had a tumultuous four years here at Bloomingdale," first-year head coach Max Warner said. "He had never played a game of high school football prior to last spring's jamboree and he went through things off the field … but he made a commitment to be on the field for his senior year and he worked incredibly hard to make that happen."He made a conscious decision to change himself, change his life, change what his extracurricular activities were, trying to right his life and make his senior year special and that's something other guys see." Williams said as much as he wanted to get back on the field for himself, he also wanted to be an example for others."I always tell (the young players) that freshman year is the most important year, if you mess up there you will be behind your sophomore year, then you're behind your junior year," he said. "Some people can build themselves back up, and some people can't."I tell them I've been there and I'm very lucky and grateful to my mom, my teachers, my coaches and all the people who helped me get here."Williams will have a steep challenge Friday at Armwood (1-0). But no matter the challenge on the field, Williams said he always remembers what it took to get there and will find time Friday to appreciate the moment, tears and all. "Every game I talk to myself and I pray and I cry," said Williams. "I'm so thankful that I get a chance to prove myself."