QUITMAN, Ga. (WTXL) - July 9th, 2013 is a day Brooks County head football coach Maurice Freeman will never forget.
"It rained the night before and we came out and once we got down the road, cars were lined up everywhere," Maurice Freeman recalled. "It was strange. It didn't look like an accident. But you could see there was an SUV on the tree."
Moments after seeing that SUV,Freeman found that Jicarre Watkins, Shawn Waters, and Johnnie Parker were gone. Shawn's younger brother, Ernest Whitfield, remembers that day like it was yesterday.
"My grandfather came and woke me up, and was saying something important happened. Your brother passed. It was a sad moment," said Whitfield.
Whitfield is now a senior linebacker for the Trojans, the position played by his brother Shawn. He doesn't talk much about his brother, but he keeps his memory alive by wearing Shawn's jersey.
"He wears the same jersey, he wears his brother's jersey," explained Freeman. "So, I will take that jersey away after this season and it probably won't be worn again until I retire. The next coach, he can do what he wants."
While Shawn, Jicarre, and Johnnie are not here physically, they're still Trojans and always will be.
"All of those guys played linebacker for me. I'm also my own defensive coordinator and linebackers coach," he said. "So, those were my boys, my children, my sons. They were that close to me, that important to me."
"We've got that kind of connection," said Whitefield of the connection with his coach. "I'll go to him anytime I want to talk to him about anything. He's like family."
"When I lost them I promised them that if I ever get a chance to play for another state title, I'm taking you with me," added Freeman. "I'm taking these jerseys and I'm not ever going to let anyone forget you guys."
A state title for the Brooks County 3 would be a good way to never be forgotten. The Trojans play for the AA State title Friday at 1:00 when they face Dublin.