COFFEE CO., GA (WALB) - It was a sad day for the Coffee County community Sunday, who gathered to remember a great high school athlete and even better friend to so many.
Family, friends and other high schoolers said their final goodbyes to Malik Sparkman on the Coffee County High School Football stadium.
The young athlete, who lost a hard fought battle with cancer, touched the life of so many on and off the field.
Coffee County football players carried their friend and teammate, Malik Sparkman across the field one last time.
"Malik was certainly special to all of them," said Robby Pruitt, Head Football Coach.
Special to his classmates, who said he could turn a bad day around.
"If you seen him in the hallways if you were upset or something I think we all could agree he would try to make you feel better," said Karleen Evans, friend.
The 18-year-old was known for turning a perfect stranger into good friend.
"And the very first time I met him it was like we always known one another," said Lisa Heist, classmate.
In addition to making you smile, Malik was known for inspiring others.
"Go in there and try to encourage him and I always left being the one you know encouraged by him," said Lisa Heist, classmate.
The standout linebacker for the Coffee Trojans was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year.
From the very beginning, the community gave him and his family support.
"Every time I called him and check on him he always say I am great coach never one time did he complain about hurting or being in pain," said Robby Pruitt, coach.
Malik lost his hard fought battle with cancer last week, which has been hard for the entire school, who loved the high school junior who would have graduated next year.
"Sad that he's not going to be her with us to walk across that stage next year," said Lisa Heist.
"When everybody got to school Monday everyone was shook up and broken hearted but they handle it pretty well and been strong," said Robby Pruitt, coach.
"It was so very hard," Karleen Evans, friend.
As they say goodbye, they will always remember the teammate and friend who always kept their spirits up.
The Coffee County High School football team is planning a way to honor Sparkman during the upcoming football season.