Students cope with loss of Marion County High school football player - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Students cope with loss of Marion County High school football player

By Chauncy Glover - bio | email | Twitter 

MARION COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Rest In Peace, painted across the same field Eric Guttierez collapsed on during Tuesday evening's practice. His best friend and teammate, Chris Whitely was right beside him.

"He just went down. Got in a 3-point stance and he just fell. He was unconcious and they noticed he wasn't breathing and they started doing CPR," says Whitely.

But coaches couldn't revive the young athlete.

The star linebacker died on the way to the hospital.

"It killed us because we couldn't do anything. You see someone so close to you just go down," he adds.

"It has deeply affected our entire community. We're all saddened. My son plays on the football team and his lockers right next to Eric," says First Baptist Pastor, Chris Hess.

Now---In downtown Beuna Vista, signs hang with a black bow attached in memory of number 54.

The Pastor of First Baptist stands on the steps of his church, talking with students, giving them that comfort they're all searching for.

"We're just here to love, hug and encourage people," he adds.

Now, only memories remain of the young athlete and classmates say they want to focus on the good ones.

"He was the type anyone could get along with. He was a good friend that you could go to when you needed him," says Caleb McVey.

"This season's for "Gut," says Whitely.

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