By The Associated Press
D’IBERVILLE — Hundreds of people attended an emotional memorial service this week for Latrell “Fred” Dunbar, a D’Iberville High School football player who died of heart failure after collapsing during last week’s game.
Dunbar was 16.
People from across south Mississippi attended Thursday’s memorial at the D’Iberville gym.
Teammate Orin Cole said Dunbar’s positive attitude touched many lives, on and off the field.
“He was a such a good dude, such a happy dude,” Cole said. “He was more than a part of a football team — he was part of a family.”
D’Iberville coach Buddy Singleton has said the junior running back collapsed while returning to the huddle in the third quarter. Play was stopped while Dunbar was taken off the field.
The players voted to continue with the game. D’Iberville went on to beat Gautier 17-14. Afterward, players were told Dunbar had died.
At the memorial, poster-sized photographs rested among floral tributes framing the stage at the memorial service. Dunbar’s family consoled each other on the front row of chairs on the gym floor.
The player’s parents, Fred Dunbar of D’Iberville and Angela Dunbar of Baton Rouge, La., were presented with their son’s No. 18 jersey and helmet, both signed by the team.
“He’s on God’s team now. He’s the starting running back and they’re going on the field,” the coach said.
Dunbar’s father gave his thanks to the community and school for their outpouring of love.
“Keep your head up and move forward,” he said. “That’s what he’d want you to do.”
Dunbar’s Warrior teammates planned to wear his No. 18 on the back of their helmets Friday night to honor him during their home game with Long Beach.