A Georgia high school football player was found dead one day before his team played in the state championship, district officials said Sunday night.
Meriwether County School System officials confirmed the death of 17-year-old Brandon Smith of Manchester High School in a letter to parents. Smith was set to be with his team to prepare for the Georgia 1-A State Football Championship.
“We are heartbroken to hear the news of the tragic and untimely death of one of our student-athletes, Brandon Smith,” a letter from Meriwether schools Superintendent Robert Griffin and Manchester High School Principal Suzie Neal reads, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“Manchester High School’s celebration of playing for the Georgia Class A Division II State Championship has unfortunately turned into something none of us could have fathomed.”
Smith was remembered as a “loyal teammate and friend.” The school said “he will be deeply missed.”
The cause of Smith’s death was not announced. According to 11 Alive, his body was found earlier Sunday evening. Manchester authorities were investigating his death and reportedly requested the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
“We continue to pray for Brandon’s family, friends, teammates, and classmates. Manchester High School will have mental health support available starting on Monday morning,” the letter adds.
Manchester was set to take on Bowdon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.