Tragedy struck a rural Georgia community when three players on a team that was expected to compete for a Class AA title this fall died in a car accident on Tuesday.
When the driver of their Ford Expedition lost control close to Quitman (Ga.) Brooks County High School and struck a tree, three of the four student-athletes inside the vehicle died on the scene, according to multiple reports (via Online Sports Guys).
Valdosta Today reported the three players as Brooks County senior defensive lineman Jicarrie Watkins; senior running back and linebacker Shawn Waters; and junior tight end and linebacker Johnie Parker.
The fourth passenger, junior RB/defensive back De'Vron Whitfield, was ejected from the vehicle and airlifted to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he remains in critical condition, according to WCTV.
"Brooks County Schools is saddened by the tragic car accident that killed three of its high school students and left one in critical condition," a statement from the school to WCTV read. "Counselors are available to support students and staff during this difficult time.
"Brooks County Schools ask that the community, students and staff please keep the families of these students in this tragic accident in their prayers."
A prayer vigil was scheduled to begin in the high school cafeteria at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Trojans finished 12-1 and lost to eventual state champion Calhoun (Ga.) in the state quarterfinals this past fall, ranking No. 3 in Class AA at season's end by Georgia High School Football Daily. Watkins reportedly earned All-Region honors as a junior.