High school football player found dead hours before his team's championship game

 December 11, 2023

A high school football player was found dead just hours before his team's state championship game in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brandon Smith, 17, was identified as the student-athlete found on Saturday who was a Manchester High School sophomore.

The statement

"We are heartbroken to hear the news of the tragic and untimely death of one of our student-athletes, Brandon Smith," the letter, released by Meriwether schools superintendent Robert Griffin and Manchester principal Suze Neal, said.

"Manchester High School's celebration of playing for the Georgia 1-A State Football Championship has unfortunately turned into something none of us could have fathomed," it added.

Under investigation

"The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed to WRBL that it was assisting Manchester police with the 'crime scene processing,'" the New York Post reported. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

“We continue to pray for Brandon’s family, friends, teammates, and classmates,” Griffin and Neal wrote, adding. “Brandon was a loyal teammate and friend who excelled on and off the field. He will be deeply missed.”

The school's announcement

"Smith’s football coach put up a missing persons post for him on Saturday, but the post was deleted on Sunday morning, NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta reported," according to NBC News.

“Brandon was a loyal teammate and friend who excelled on and off the field. He will be deeply missed,” the Meriwether County School System said.

The high school stated that it would have mental health support available for students on Monday for those needing assistance following the tragic loss of a classmate.

The game was scheduled for Monday, with athletes from both teams expected to take time to remember the teammate as part of the game. Manchester plays Bowdon High School in the 1A championship.

The unexpected death of the student has sent shock across the small community with news of the athlete's death capturing the attention of the nation in life cut far too short.

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