Franklin’s football and baseball teams are grieving after losing Will Cherry, who died Tuesday after sustaining injuries in an ATV accident three days earlier.
“Oh, it’s horrible,” Franklin football coach Alex Melton said. “Losing anybody is tough and Will was definitely a great kid, a great competitor, (had) a great sense of humor.”
The first-year coach described Cherry, 15, as “a lovable, young kid that everybody loved to be around.”
The sophomore played offensive and defensive line for the Admirals.
“So much potential there, such a bright future and obviously a very sad situation, for sure,” Melton said. “You just can’t imagine what (the family) is going through, being so sudden and just being so young and healthy and then all of a sudden that happening.”
Cherry was working at guard and tackle on offense and end on defense.
“He was pretty versatile because of his athleticism and size,” Melton said. “He could play pretty much anywhere we put him.”
Melton said his teammates are leaning on each other to get through the tragedy.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, the day before what would have been his 16th birthday, at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home.
“He will be missed, for sure, and he will not be forgotten,” Melton said. “We’ll make sure of that.”
Franklin baseball coach Wally Whidby said Cherry was a jokester and the life of whatever room he was in.
“He always had a quick comeback, but he was also one of the hardest working kids on the team,” Whidby said. “Also had a really good heart, truly cared about others and would sacrifice for others.”
Whidby called him the glue of last year’s freshman class.
Cherry moved from first base to third on the junior varsity. He hit .318 and also pitched.
“He projected to be a major contributor down the road,” Whidby said. “He was always asking me what he could do to get better. I’m going to miss him.”
Whidby described Cherry as an old-fashioned type of kid.
“Will was about all things country,” Whidby said. “He loved hunting, he loved fishing, he loved riding ATVs, he loved riding an inner-tube on the lake. If it was outdoors, he was in.”
Whidby said he was like a kid that drank out of the garden hose rather than a Dasani water bottle.
“He was a good, ole country boy that didn’t mind getting his hands dirty,” Whidby said. “Comes from an old-school Franklin family that raised him to earn everything he got. I had his grandmother as an art teacher at Franklin. His dad played football at Franklin.”
Whidby will be officiating at the funeral. The Admirals football and baseball teams will be honorary pallbearers.
Whidby said the players are shaken by Cherry’s death.
“They’re all upset and understandably so,” Whidby said. “They’re all hurting. A couple of my seniors that have graduated called and expressed that they just can’t believe he’s gone.”