LeRoy High School isn't exactly in the backyard of Athens High School or Auburn High School, as the Springfield area communities are roughly 70 and 90 miles from LeRoy, respectively.
That distance didn't stop those schools and towns from rallying for a common cause: gathering funds for LeRoy High School junior Tommy Pruett as he battles brain cancer.
Athens head coach Ryan Knox heard about Tommy's condition from parent who had a niece that attends LeRoy. After confirming Auburn's participation in the event, they decided they would raise funds during the annual rivalry game between Athens and Auburn when they met in Athens on September 11.
When Athens traveled to LeRoy for a non-conference football game on September 25, Knox and company also brought along a check for nearly $1,500 that the two schools raised and presented to Tommy and his mom during a pre-game ceremony.
Knox (pictured right shaking hands with Tommy)
reflected on why he thought it was important for the team to help a player they didn't know:
"As a coaching staff we constantly remind our kids that football is not life. While playing football we hope they learn valuable life lessons along the way. I hope our players learn that when opportunity presents itself to help someone in need they have the courage to stand up and do something about it. I was really not expecting the type of money that was donated by the Auburn and Athens football communities. It really shows you the positive impact high school football can have on a community."
***All photos courtesy of Becky LaMont from the LeRoy-Farmer City Press***