D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - You can only imagine what the Saturday morning bus ride to Woodville, MS was like for the D'Iberville Warriors football team. One week ago, players and students were just learning abut the shocking death of their classmate and friend Latrell Fred Dunbar.
Working through the pain and trying to move on, the D'Iberville Warriors football team suited up Friday night and took on the Long Beach Bearcats. The emotional Warriors used Dunbar's memory as inspiration. D'Iberville beat Long Beach 26-20.
And now, the team will attend Dunbar's 11:00 funeral.
The emotions of the week were just as evident outside the football field.
At the entrance of the D'Ibervile Warriors Stadium on Friday night, you found thoughtful tributes to a friend lost, but not forgotten. Inside the stadium, the number 18 was spray painted on the field. It was also on the backs of parents, teachers, players, and friends. They all did their parts to keep the junior running backs' memory alive.
D'iberville High School student Emily Applegate proudly wore her number 18 jersey. As a close friend of the Dunbar family, she said the expressions of love and support were incredibly moving. "It almost made me cry. It was sad, but I'm just glad that the team is playing for Fred and doing it for Fred," Applegate said.
People like Zachery Doucet, who were acquaintances with Dunbar, felt his presence. "I did know Fred personally he sat next to me in ROTC freshman year so I was very sad to hear that he passed, but it happens. Life will go on," said Doucet. "Now is not the time to mourn, but to celebrate the new life he's given us."
Some students say the new life they're feeling is because this tragedy has forced the student body to come together and support one another. "This has pulled D'Iberville together as a family. This has pulled the whole Mississippi together as a family," James Clausell said.
Clausell is one of the many D'iberville students who rushed to emergency room the night Dunbar passed away. She's says it's been tough, but each day gets better. "It's getting better. The more everyone celebrates, the more everyone comes closer, the better things get. Things happen for a reason.
"Fred wouldn't want you to grieve. He wouldn't want that. He was a happy person he was always smiling and I feel that we should smile for him and smile with him. He's smiling down on us right now because we're happy."