Georgia Community Mourns Loss of Promising High School Football Player

( – Georgia’s Manchester High School was shocked when one of their star football players, only 17-years-old, was found dead the day before their big game. The student, Brandon Smith, was found early in the evening on Sunday December 10th. Authorities said he was shot several times but the coroner has not officially announced a cause of death.

His teammates and coaches remember Smith fondly. School officials released a statement referring to him as a “loyal teammate and friend.” Robert Griffin, Meriwether schools Superintendent, and Principal Suzie Neal of Manchester High School released a joint statement calling the death a tragedy and stated they are “heartbroken” as a result.

The Georgia Class A Division II State Championship game went on as scheduled between Smith’s Manchester Blue Devils and their rival Bowden Red Devils. The Bowden team came out on top of the heavy-hearted Manchester club and won their second consecutive state title. Team captains for Manchester jointly held Smith’s jersey at the 50-yard line prior to kickoff.

Maxine Smith, the grandmother of Brandon, said she remains heartbroken and detailed to local news her desperate efforts to reach him via cell phone since the prior Thursday. She said she woke up that Sunday and had a deep feeling that something terrible had happened since she had not heard from him and he had not come home for consecutive days.

It was later on that Sunday when the team’s coach, Stephen Holmes, informed Maxine that Brandon was dead. Brandon Smith’s uncle encouraged the team to proceed with the game, insisting that’s what his nephew would have wanted as he was quite enthusiastic to play in on the field. The Manchester Blue Devils had not played in the championship game for 26 years prior to this week’s game.

The police have not announced any specific details regarding the shooting nor have they made an announcement about any search for Smith’s killer.

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