LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – Coaches will tell you that sports prepares student-athletes for life’s challenges, but nothing could possibly have prepared the members of Mosley’s football team for the tragedy they’re facing this week.
The Dolphins are mourning the loss of teammate Avery Sanders, as he passed away in a motorcycle accident on Sunday night.
“We definitely want to have a great season, but right now our focus is on Avery,” Mosley head football coach Tommy Joe Whiddon said.
The senior defensive end hadn’t been with the program very long. He joined the team in the spring, transferring in from Wakulla.
In just eight games, Sanders had 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
Coach Whiddon said his presence on the field will definitely be missed.
“He was a big boy, a hard worker and he made a lot of plays for us on our football team. And really truly over these past few weeks he made a lot of key plays for us,” Whiddon said.
Sanders shined off the field too and teammates remember him best for being himself.
“Avery would paint his fingernails from time to time and Jamir was telling a story how he was giving Avery a hard time for his fingernails being painted and Avery said so what? What are you gonna do about it?” Whiddon said.
In addition to school and football, he also worked multiple jobs to provide for himself and his family.
Other obligations almost kept Sanders from playing for the Dolphins this season.
When he returned to the team after the first game of the year, the locker room gave him a standing ovation.
“Avery was telling one of the coaches how much that meant to him that when he came back how excited his teammates were for him and that just being back on the team he wanted to work harder to make sure he didn’t let those guys down cause it meant so much to him they were excited he came back to the team,” Whiddon said.
The Dolphins plan on honoring Avery’s memory when they face Gadsden County Friday night, but Coach Whiddon said they also plan to honor him by finishing out the season strong.
“We just need to go out and make sure we be ourselves, and that we push through and fight for him. That’s what I know he would want for all of us. It’s definitely going to be tough. I have confidence in our group of guys and our locker room and the culture we built that our guys are going to be able to do that for him,” Whiddon said.
The Mosley Touchdown Club has set up a Go Fund Me for Sander’s family, to donate click here.