Friends and family of 17-year-old Matthew Jernigan can describe his life in just a few words.
"Everybody loved Matthew, he was always smiling, had the biggest smile ever.
Everybody looked up to him because of the way he carried himself,” said Tanner Powell, a fellow junior teammate.
Mathew drowned Monday after his boat capsized during a duck hunting trip. Before his death Jernigan excelled in baseball. But his Southwest Georgia Academy teammates say he was more than a talented athlete, he was an over-all good person.
"How nice he was really, just how he treated other people and he stood up for what he believed in. He knew what was right from wrong and if he saw that he needed to help someone out he would," added Powell.
Academy principal Matt Dalrymple says Mathew's death has been especially hard on students.
He says the small close-knit school has never had to deal with death before.
"It's sad that a tragedy makes you see how special our community or school is and last night it was a two or three hour wait just to get into the church at visitation."
Mathew is now buried twenty-five miles away from his school's baseball field, a place friends say he loved and will always miss.
"We're just going to go out there and try to win state for him in baseball and every other sport just bust our buts because that's what he did. He went 100 percent all the time,” said Powell.
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