D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - For the past four years, one day in particular has been tougher than others for the D'Iberville Warriors football program -- September 9.
On that day in 2011, Warriors senior running back Latrell "Fred" Dunbar died after suffering an acute cardiac event during a football game.
"It was a very tough day for everyone involved," D'Iberville head coach Buddy Singleton said. "That's something you never dream about happening to your football team. It's something you try to put in the past and hopefully never happens again."
While Singleton tries to forget about the specifics of that tragic scene, the number 18 is now given to a player on the team that best represents what Dunbar was all about -- work ethic and exceptional talent. After spring practice a few months ago, D'Iberville's coaching staff selected senior tailback I'zayiah Jacob.
"Eighteen represents D'Iberville to me," said Jacob, who wore No. 31 last year. "Wearing this number means a lot. I have a lot of shoes to fill. I know if Fred was here, Fred would think the same thing also."
Jacob joins Elisha Wilson, Kaylon Evans and Aaron Anspach as the first four players to wear the No. 18 since Dunbar's death.
"I'zayiah is a great kid, makes good grades, works hard, never complains and never uses any excuses," Singleton said. "A lot of kids who mess up always have an excuse, but not I'zayiah."
Since 2012, D'Iberville has never lost their first game on or after September 9. This Friday, the 1-2 Warriors face an Oak Grove team that has yet to lose in two games and is ranked as the third best team in the state according to MaxPreps.