COLLINS, Miss. – “He simply hated to lose.”
“Man, he was a beast.”
“One of the hearts and souls of our football team.”
“It’s like losing a brother.”
“It really hits close to home.”
“We really miss him a lot.”
“You can never replace a kid like Jabarri Goudy.”
Seven months ago 17-year-old Jabarri Goudy was taking the field at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. for the MHSAA Class 3A football state championship game.
His team won that game against Charleston, leaving the Tigers with a lasting memory of their fallen teammate that transcends life and death.
“Best feeling in the world, knowing you’re going to send somebody out with a bang like that,” says Collins senior defensive end Tee Dossett.
“They can always look back and say the last football game that he played he was in a state championship game, and that history will always remember Jabarri Goudy,” says Collins head football coach Ryan Earnest. “We already know he’s a champion off the field, but we have physical and visual evidence that he ended his life as a champion on the field as well.”
During the early hours of July 5 the to-be senior was shot at a Hattiesburg night club, and later died at Forrest General Hospital.
His passing is one that is hard to accept for a tight-knit Collins community, and even harder to believe for those he shared a locker room with.
“Still kind of in shock,” says Earnest.
“I didn’t believe it at first, until my brother came and told me again,” says Collins senior quarterback Detric Hawthorn.
“My heart just dropped,” says Collins senior free safety Derric Hawthorn. “I didn’t think it was real or nothing.”
“You know it’s hard when you wake up in the morning and you finally get told that one of your close friends – your brother – got killed, by somebody that wasn’t even supposed to be doing that,” says Dossett. “That’s just…it’s crazy to hear that.”
For the reigning state champs, the grieving process will take some time.
But that is exactly what the Tigers have – and need – with a whole season ahead to dedicate to No. 66.
“Every touchdown I throw, it’s going to be for him,” says Detric Hawthorn.
“We’re going to to do it for 66 this year, and that’s our motto this year – do it for 66,” says Dossett.
“Big six six on three, big six on three…one, two, three, big six six.”
“From players to coaches to managers, approaching this football season the way Jabarri would’ve approached it…all out, maximum effort, with all the heard and passion and desire that our bodies can muster,” says Earnest.
The Tigers open up their season on the road at West Jones on Aug. 21.