Team reflects on the character of Fred Dunbar - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Team reflects on the character of Fred Dunbar

The D'Iberville community continues to cope with the tragic loss of Fred Dunbar, who died after collapsing during Friday night's D'Iberville game at Gautier.

Players and coaches say their teammate may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

"He was a great kid, and I'm not just saying this because of what happened to him. He was a good student, a good teammate, a good person," said D'Iberville head coach Buddy Singleton.

D'Iberville coach Buddy Singleton shared a close bond with Fred Dunbar.

"He used to ride with me some to weight lifting and all. I'd drop him off at home and go and pick him," Singleton said.

Through their early morning rides to school, and their late afternoon journeys home, Singleton got to know Dunbar on a deeper level, one that went beyond merely coach and player.

Running back Justin Brister will miss his friend dearly. Fred's absence in the classroom Monday will be as noticeable as the void he leaves on the football field every Friday.

"He was the type of person who would talk to me and tell jokes to get my spirit right," Brister said.

On the field, Brister remembers Dunbar as a lead blocker, who always brought a positive attitude to every huddle.

"Before every play, he turns around and looks at me and says, 'I'm going to get you there. We're going to get a touchdown,'" Brister said. "Every play, That's all I was thinking of, I was going to score for him."

Coach Singleton says next week's game against Long Beach is in question right now. Whenever the Warriors return to the field, they will do so with purpose.

Quarterback Garrett Landrum says the Warriors will dedicate every play to Dunbar for the rest of the season.

"This is more than a football team, it's more of a brotherhood. This is a family, and we're going to be there for each other," Brister said.

"We're all going to miss him, but I guess God needed him on his football team more than we did," Singleton said.

Coach Singleton says he feels blind-sided.

An autopsy Saturday showed Dunbar died of sudden cardiac arrest.

Dunbar had undergone a physical, and had no previous health problems that would indicate tragedy was on the horizon.

Singleton lost his home in Hurricane Katrina, but he says this weekend's pain has been harder to deal with than anything he has ever had to endure.

Follow Dave on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/GulfSportsDave

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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