Let's face it, losing your football coach in late-February and getting a new one in mid-May isn't the best situation for a high school football program.

That's traditionally a prime weight-lifting and conditioning period. And with year-round practice now legal, a stable football program can make big on-field gains in the spring as well.

In hiring defensive line coach Lee Williams as its new head coach, Jamestown High could survive its late hire quite nicely. That's because, in the interim, Williams has been the guy supervising many of the Eagles football players in the weight room and on the field.

"He's got the kids' trust," said Jamestown assistant coach Jerry Varacallo, a former head coach of the Eagles who will join Williams' staff. "He's fired up and I think that exuberance will help."

Team captains Brody Scott, Landon Morrow and Colin Moog said that Williams earned their appreciation by helping out during the months before anyone knew who the next coach would be.

"He was always good about seeing we had something to do," said Scott, who played linebacker and tight end this past season.

Morrow, the starting quarterback, said, "He did a great job in the weight room, and having a head coach takes a great load off of the captains.

"Without a head coach, we had to take on some of the leadership. After a while you need someone to lead you."

Even with Williams, and assistant DJ Varacallo (Jerry's son) helping out with lifting, Moog says the past couple of months have been difficult for the team. For starters, he said, it was not easy to lose Turnage.

"We all liked Coach Turnage very much," Moog said. "He understood us."

And while many of the Eagles' football players have conditioned and lifted since Turnage's departure, Moog indicated the uncertainty has dampened offseason intensity a bit.

"Being in limbo was kind of confusing, because, we lost (Turnage) right after the two-week dead period (when non-spring sports teams cannot work out) and it was kind of hard to know what to do," he said. "Having a coach will help move us along.

"As soon as we heard we finally had a coach, it kind of changed the mentality. There's no slacking off: everyone is ready to straighten up and be serious, now."

Williams' age – at 24, he is the youngest head coach in Bay Rivers District history – should be no impediment to leading the Eagles.

"He's young, but I don't think there is anyone on the football team who doesn't respect him," Morrow said. "We view him as our coach."

Moog said he was impressed last season by Williams, who coached him on the defensive line.

"He knows what he's talking about with technique," Moog said. "He's grown up around football.

"He played on the varsity (at Brunswick County High) for four years and his father (Harold Lee Williams) is a head coach (at Brunswick)."

While Jamestown has some holes to fill on the lines, the Eagles return most of their key players at the skill positions and at linebacker from a team that reached the Region I Division 4 playoffs. Now that they have a head coach, optimism is high.

"I think things look good for next season," Scott said. "We've just got to get people working.

"We wanted the best person for the job, and it definitely helps that it's someone who's been working with us in the offseason. I think Coach Williams can take us where we need to be."