The rural community of Winnsboro was struggling on Saturday to come to grips with the death of a Franklin Parish High School football player after a collision with another player on the field Friday night.
Tyrell Cameron, a freshman, was injured when he was hit by a player from Sterlington High during a fourth-quarter punt return. He was taken to a nearby hospital, and fans learned later that he had died — the second player from a north Louisiana school to die in a football-related incident within the past three years.
Franklin Parish High coach Barry Sebren was among those who offered remembrances of Cameron. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association also issued an official statement on Saturday.
“Tyrell was a quiet kid,” Sebren told the Monroe News-Star. “You didn’t hear from him a lot, but his presence was always there because he had a great personality.
Sebren continued, “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.”
Sebren met with the entire Franklin Parish High School team for the first time since Cameron’s death at 3 p.m. Saturday after visiting with Cameron’s family. A memorial is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the school’s stadium and will be held on the 35-yard line where the injury took place, according to Winnsboro-based broadcaster Matt Reynolds, of KMAR 95.9 FM. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Sterlington of Class 2A ultimately won the game, which was hosted by Franklin Parish High School in Winnsboro, by a score of 14-0.
Cameron was a starter on FPHS’s punt coverage team.
Reynolds said Cameron turned his body slightly while preparing to tackle the Sterlington player with the ball and was struck by another Sterlington High player attempting to make a block with approximately eight minutes left in the game.
“It happened on the opposite side of the field, but right away you knew something really bad had happened,” Reynolds recalled. “The Sterlington coaches immediately came on the field. One of their coaches ran all the way to the end zone to get the EMS personnel.”
Reynolds said Cameron’s relatives and other spectators were on the field as paramedics worked. The last image Reynolds recalled was seeing the ambulance race around the school’s track to exit the stadium not long after the game resumed.
“The more I think about, the more amazed I am that the teams finished the game,” Reynolds said. “You could see the difference. They (players) weren’t into it.”
The incident marks the second time within the last three years that a player from a north Louisiana school has died. Farmerville High’s Jaleel Gibson died several days after being injured during a tackling drill that was part of spring practice in May 2013.
“As a father of three children, my heart breaks for Tyrell’s family, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said in an official statement. “I cannot imagine their pain.”
Johnny Ogden, an investigator for the Franklin Parish coroner’s office, told USA TODAY an autopsy would be scheduled for sometime Saturday or on Sunday morning.
Sebren told Reynolds that arrangements are being made for LHSAA officials to meet with the family.