GRANT, Ala. (WAFF) - A high school football team played the role of pallbearers in Marshall County at their funeral of their friend and teammate Eli Spray.
Eli died after a car crash on Friday. Hundreds of people attended Eli’s funeral Tuesday afternoon. The line wrapped around First Baptist Church in Grant for people to pay their final respect to a son, friend and teammate.
Following the ceremony, football players from DAR High School lined up outside the church and Eli’s senior teammates carried his casket and placed it inside the hearse.
“Lot of emotions. I’m glad the football team came together and the seniors were the pallbearers, the senior football players and his cousin and it was rough,” said teammate Ben Sutton.
The football players were then taken by bus as part of the funeral procession and driven to Kirby Cemetery in Langston where Eli was laid to rest.
“Eli is such a great team leader for our team and our young kids look up to Eli, so we provided a school bus to go to the gravesite ceremony and the kids have all been devastated by this,” said Head Coach Joel Poole.
“It hasn’t felt real up until the last day or two seeing the coffin and his name on the sign and all that. It really takes a toll on you, somebody you’re that close to it’s not suppose to happen like that,” said Sutton.
Eli’s coach and teammates say his love for football ran through his veins. He was buried wearing his football jersey, number 77. It’s now a number the team will use to remember and honor Eli all next year.
“They’ve decided to honor Eli with a scholarship they’re going to put in place this off season. We’ll wear decals on our helmets honoring Eli. We did that Friday night,” said Poole.