High School Sports

‘He’s a fighter.’ 2 former Coast football players injured in fatal wreck are recovering.

Jeremiah Braziel, left, and Keon Moore
Jeremiah Braziel, left, and Keon Moore Sun Herald file

The two East Mississippi Community College football players who were injured in a Wednesday crash that claimed the life of former Gulfport football standout Zae Crain are making progress in their recoveries.

Crain, former Gulfport defensive lineman Jeremiah Braziel and former Harrison Central star running back Keon Moore were involved in a one-vehicle wreck on Interstate 59 in Clarke County on Wednesday.

Crain was declared dead at the scene, Braziel was airlifted in critical condition to University Medical Center in Jackson, and Moore was taken to a hospital in Meridian.

Moore, who has been posting on social media and asking for prayers for his teammates, was released from the hospital on Thursday.

After undergoing surgery on Thursday, Braziel was in the process of being moved out of ICU and into his own room on Friday morning, Gulfport football coach John Archie said.

“He’s a fighter so he’s doing good,” Archie said. “I just left the hospital and they’re in the process of getting him moved to a room.”

Braziel’s mother, Pamela, posted on social media that there was concern that her son wouldn’t make it through the night when he first arrived at UMMC on Wednesday. He has since improved to stable condition and she described the surgery as going “good.”

“He’s far from okay, but he’s here and I couldn’t be more thankful,” she said in a Facebook post.

The three EMCC student-athletes were traveling to their hometown of Gulfport to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday before the wreck.

There has been an outpouring of support for the Gulfport community since news spread over the holiday.

“We’re just one big family and that’s what our team showed last year,” Archie said. “We’re Gulfport strong and it’s all coming to light now.

“I just want everybody to keep praying for the community of Gulfport right now. We just want all the support we can get right now.”

A fundraiser was set up on Facebook by local restaurateur Rob Stinson to benefit Zae’s mother, Latoya, who works at Stinson’s restaurant in Gulfport, Salute. Like his mother, Zae was an employee of Salute. The page, which is titled “Salute’s Zae Crain Fund” had raised $7,330 of the $25,000 goal as of late Friday morning.

Gulfport QB T.Q. Newsome and DL Jeremiah Braziel discuss the Admirals' 33-14 win at Harrison Central.