Johnthia Guttsil Fernandez-Peters
Died: (Kelowna, British Columbia)
JT Fernandez was a star linebacker for the Okanagan Sun of the British Columbia Football Conference, a junior league. His death was announced by the team on Sept. 18. He was 21. A cause of death was not announced.
In what would be his final game, Fernandez was credited with 2 1/2 sacks in a 19-8 Sun victory over the Vancouver Island Raiders in Nanaimo on Sept. 13.
In two seasons with the Sun, Fernandez recorded 47 solo tackles, three sacks, two fumbles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and two blocked kicks.
The 5-foot-11, 232-pound defensive back won a bronze medal with Team BC at 2010 Football Canada Cup with a 38-3 won over the host Nova Scotia team on the campus of Acadia University. Fernandez was named British Columbia’s defensive MVP of the game.
He played high school football with the Holy Cross Crusaders in Vancouver. Fernandez also played for the Cloverdale Cougars bantam team as a fullback, scoring three touchdowns in a 43-38 loss to the Langley Outlaws in 2006. In high school, he also competed in the shot put and discus throw.
In an emotional game played days after his death, the Okanagan Sun painted orange the 32-yard line in both ends of the Apple Bowl in Kelowna to honour Fernandez’s uniform number. The Sun then defeated the Westshore Rebels of Victoria by 92-7.
Fernandez’s death was the third midseason death suffered by an Okanagan Sun player in the past 10 years. Running back Janson Towers died in a motorcycle collision in 2008, while running back Jeff Halvorson collapsed and died after practice in 2004.