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'Please let them win' | Family honors legacy of diehard Georgia fan week before National Championship

Evan Wetherell, a husband, father and noted Georgia Bulldogs fan, died in November at the age of 34.

POOLER, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs kept the Wetherells laughing and cheering for more than a decade. Evan, once a Tennessee fan, traded in his Volunteer orange for the red and black, according to his mother, Lisa. 

"I always taught my boys to never be afraid or ashamed to say you love someone," Lisa said. "If you have that feeling for someone, always tell them that you love them. Evan and I were very close. He was just a very loving, a very affectionate child. He grew up with that."

Evan told his wife, Taylor, he loved her on a chilly November day, just before Georgia played Kentucky in Athens during the 2013 season. He proposed to Taylor, and the two had just celebrated eight years of marriage. The couple has a daughter, three-year-old Harper.

But this family's love doesn't come without loss. Taylor nearly lost her life to cancer. When she had her head shaved, Evan shaved his head as well in solidarity. Then, this past November, Taylor said Evan woke her up early for work.

"Within seconds, I turned my head and he was gone, that quick," Taylor said. "The love of your life is just gone in seconds and you don't know why."

Evan Wetherell was 34 years old, his death still a mystery to his family. At his celebration of life service, the day of the SEC Championship, attendees were asked to wear UGA gear. Taylor keeps her late husband's remains in an urn shaped like a Georgia football helmet. She also keeps rooting for Georgia. 

"When Ohio State missed that field goal, I felt like Evan had a lot to do with why they missed that, because I was just praying, like please let them win for him," Taylor said. 

With nerves and tension high in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Saturday, the Wetherells now have a chance to watch Georgia make history by winning its second national championship in a row.

Evan's sister Drue graduated from the University of Georgia. She said her brother's UGA fandom ran deep. He had a red truck and was bound and determined to make anyone he met a Georgia fan by the end of a conversation. 

"Evan is the biggest optimist out of everyone, especially when it comes to Georgia football," Drue said. "I could be like, I don’t know Evan. And he’d say 'nah, we’ve got it.' If I ever lost the faith, I’d say he was always the one right there picking it back up.”

The one who keeps his family laughing and cheering, just like their favorite team, also gives them hope even in loss.

"I know for his boys to go to a National Championship and to win it two years in a row, I know that would be one of the best things," Taylor said. "I hope wherever he is, if he's in heaven, that he's going to experience all of that in the best seat in the house."

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