Never has Branford had a more talented athlete than Harry Williams. His football feats remain legendary although some 60 years have passed since he led Branford High to an undefeated, untied, and unscored upon season in 1931 and was an All-State basketball player on the team that captured the state title in 1930.
“Heb” was a three-time All-State selection in basketball, and in the tradition of the day, filled out his three-sport resume with stints on the baseball team and later the four-man track ensemble.
Adults, it is said, began arranging their factory hours in order to see him perform his skills on the athletic field.
Although he wanted to play for the Laurels, he went to Talladega College in Alabama to pursue a physical education degree but in 1938 was forced to withdraw because of financial hardship. He returned to Branford to play with the Laurels until military service claimed him in 1942.
After a stint in the Pacific Theater he married and took a position with the Winchester Repeating Arms Corporation.
Golf became his post-war game attraction and he mastered its difficult shots as easily as he maneuvered around a defensive backfield with a football under his arm.
Although many of the memories have faded and many of the records have been surpassed, his 254-yard, five-touchdown day against Westport still remains etched in the Branford Record books.
Death claimed “Heb” in 1986, but the awards keep on coming. Earlier this year he was awarded the 1990 Outstanding Alumni Award from Talladega College for “Athletic Excellence in Partnership with Academic Achievement.”