FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – 18-year-old Raekwon Smith’s family and friends gathered Monday at Peach County High School’s Anderson Stadium to remember the teenager who died Saturday in a car accident.
Why the football stadium? Well, as coach Chad Campbell told the crowd there, it’s about the only place where both sides of the county “can come together.”
“He (Raekwon) was awesome,” says Erica Smith, Raekwon’s mother. “He was the best son, child that anyone could ever want.”
Smith’s death has sent a shockwave through Peach County.
“Raekwon was a kid loved by everybody,” says head coach Chad Campbell. “Always had a smile on his face.”
Smith spent Saturday afternoon at a pool party with his fellow football seniors and Campbell. A Facebook live video posted on Raekwon’s timeline shows a happy, smiling teenager. No one knew he’d be gone in less than four hours.
“We just had a little get together to start off the season,” Campbell says. “We had a good time.”
Two days later, the Trojan community is hurting but trying to focus on the good times.
“He could be tired, but if grandmama and granddaddy wanted a steak, he would come and cook that steak,” Erica says.
He was just a few days into his senior year and less than a week away from the first game of his senior football season.
“He loved it,” says Eloise Smith, Raekwon’s grandmother. “He loved every one of them (teammates). He was an only child, but they were his brothers.”
Despite heavy hearts, his Trojan brothers will fight on.
“Friday night, we’re going to be right here,” Campbell told the crowd Monday. “We need everybody here. We need everybody here pulling for one another.”
Three other players were in the crash. Two of them were taken to the hospital, and one is still in critical condition. Campbell told the crowd that the senior, Randolph Williams, faces a 50 percent chance of being paralyzed.
Another Peach County student was also hurt in an accident over the weekend. Campbell says junior Levi Griggs, who’s not a football player, is “getting better.”
The Trojans (0-0) host Houston County (1-0) Friday at 8 p.m.