MARLOW, Okla. - A Bray-Doyle high school football player has died in a car accident after swerving to miss a deer on the way to school.
Joe Lumbert was driving north on Cason Road on Friday morning when he swerved to miss the deer. His truck flipped multiple times and landed in a field.
“It's just, it's heartbreaking,” said Marcus Knight. “It just floored me. It's a call you never want to happen.”
Knight only coached Lumbert at Bray-Doyle for a year, but he and the entire football team loved him like family.
“He's a great kid,” he said. “You have kids you coach, and I've coached for a while and this kid probably goes down as one of the top 10 kids I've ever coached my whole entire life."
Knight said he's grateful, the last time he saw Lumbert, he reminded him he was loved.
“At the end of every game, we do a hug line where we line the players up and tell them we love them and we appreciate them,” he said. “That was the last time anyone got to hug him and tell him they loved him. To me, I will always remember that.”
Lumbert also played on the basketball team at Bray-Doyle. He was heading to the school gym Friday morning before the accident happened.
“I just couldn't think really,” said Justin Miller, Lumbert’s friend. “I still can't.”
Miller said it doesn't feel real he's gone.
“My mom came in my room, and she was really close with him too because he was always at our house and we just cried there for 30-45 minutes,” he said. “He was the best best friend you could ask for.”
To honor Lumbert, the school is spray painting number 5, his jersey number, on the field for next Friday's game.
The staff also cancelled school Tuesday, so everyone could go to Lumbert's funeral.
Miller said it's the community's support that's getting them through the difficult time.
“It really opens your eyes,” he said. “I mean, you don't realize how much love is in the community until something like this happens. I know Joe would really appreciate it because he really loved this town.”
Knight said they will also be retiring Lumbert's football jersey, number 5, after the season.