WINNSBORO, La. — A community hurting came together, many standing arm-in-arm, Saturday night to begin to come to grips with the loss of one its own.
Franklin Parish High School freshman linebacker Tyrell Cameron, 16, died after an injury sustained in the fourth quarter of a game Friday at Patriot Stadium.
Cameron was taken from the field by ambulance and was pronounced dead.
More than 300 students, coaches, fans, and community leaders gathered back on that field Saturday for an emotional, candlelight vigil.
“It is huge to see so much support and all the love,” Franklin Parish coach Barry Sebren said. “It shouldn’t take something like this to bring us together, but it is bringing out the best in everybody within the community. Even from the entire Northeast Louisiana community. We have had so much support from all over.”
Sebren referenced support from not just Sterlington High School who defeated Franklin Parish 14-0 on Friday, but support from many schools and some way outside the region such as McNeese State University in Lake Charles have taken to social media to show love and support during this difficult time.
Sebren had a chance to meet with Shamikka Cameron, mother of Tyrell, on Saturday morning to share in the loss of her son and one of his own players.
“She is distraught,” Sebren said. “We wanted her to know we are here to support her.”
The evening was included the release of floating lanterns and messages from several area church pastors who offered support to those grieving the loss of Cameron.
“Tyrell was a quiet kid. You didn’t hear from him a lot, but his presence was always there because he had a great personality,” Sebren said. “He didn’t have to be vocal to have a great personality.
“Our players have lost such an incredibly valuable human being to an unexplainable tragedy.”
Cameron’s presence in the Patriots’ locker room was two-fold, as he had earned a prominent role in the Patriots defense and was a key fixture in the four-year plans for Franklin Parish football.
“On top of all of that, he was a great football player for his age,” Sebren said. “He was starting as a freshman last night in his first varsity start. He was really excited to be starting last night, he was going to be a four-year starter for us.
“It’s tragic to see it end that way for him.”
Current Franklin Parish players arrived on the field united and carrying the No. 48 jersey of Cameron.
Tight end Kenyon Major, a cousin of Cameron, said the support of the surrounding communities meant a lot to both the family and the team.
“It is a great thing to see us all come together,” Major said. “We will overcome it and it picked us up. We are going to tote him on our shoulders. He was a great dude. He will be watching over the team.”
Offensive lineman/defensive tackle Bryan Hollis said Cameron recalled talking to Cameron several times on Friday.
“He shook my hand (before the game) and told me ‘make defense harder’,” Hollis recalled. “I gave it everything I had.”
Contributing: Brett Hudson, Monroe News Star