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Breathitt Football

Bigger Than a Game

Bobcats move to 5-0, but not the biggest win of the Night!

JACKSON – September 23, 2019 – Casey Allen – BSN

The Powell County Pirates and the Breathitt County Bobcats faced off Friday night on the River Bank in Jackson. The game itself was over just about as quick as it started. Breathitt placed the game under a running clock in the first quarter and ultimately won 56-6.

With a score like that, I could talk for days about the stats from this one. I’m not going to do that. In fact, who cares about stats? Who cares about the number of tackles a player had, or touchdowns for that matter? Friday provided us with much more important stats than that!

Two communities came together and raised 444 dollars. That money will provide two grants for families battling Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG is a type of tumor that starts in the brain stem. Only 10% of children with DIPG survive for two years following their diagnosis, and less than 1% survive for five years. The median survival time is 9 months from diagnosis.

 Why does this illness mean so much to Breathitt County? One of our own was diagnosed with this form of cancer. Colton Ritchie, a Breathitt County young man, and huge Bobcat fan, fought this horrible disease and ultimately won his battle by gaining his angel wings. Colton had the fight of a champion and didn’t allow this disease to win. To know Colton was to love him. He brought a community, a county, even a region together. He created a movement that became known as “Team Colton.” Shannon and Josh Ritchie, Colton’s mom and dad, continued that movement in Colton’s memory by making Team Colton a Non-Profit Organization. The goal of Team Colton is to help families battle DIPG.

Team Colton and the Breathitt County Bobcats invited David Turner Jr. to Jackson Friday Night as part of the now annual Cats versus Cancer event. David is 8 years old and was diagnosed with DIPG 17 months ago. Since his diagnosis, David has endured multiple chemo treatments and two rounds of radiation. He hasn’t allowed that to define him or become a disability.

Not sure who said it but, “The only disability is a bad attitude.” That statement couldn’t be more true when it comes to David. David was given his own Breathitt Bobcat Jersey and was named an Honorary Captain of the Bobcats. He joined the team for pre-game festivities, even running onto the field with the team. The smile on his face said it all. This was the best day ever!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and Breathitt County Football has joined the fight. For the past few years, Coach Moore and his Bobcats have joined Team Colton to host the “Cats Against Cancer Game.” Money is raised during the game, and yellow balloons are sold. At halftime, anyone who bought a balloon are invited to join Team Colton at midfield for a balloon release in honor of Colton Ritchie and those who have/are fighting DIPG. As stated above, the money raised will provide two families who are battling this disease with grants.

We talked earlier in the year about life lessons that the game of football teaches. The fact is football is so much bigger than a game. Coach Kyle Moore and Staff have much higher goals set for their teams than winning a state championship. They want to develop players into good husbands, fathers, and sons. It doesn’t matter how many championships you have or how many touchdowns you score. The true measure of how successful you are will come many years after you hang up your cleats. Are you a good dad, husband, and son?

As a former Breathitt Bobcat (Once a Bobcat Always Bobcat), and having had Coach Moore as a coach, I can tell you the impact this program and the coaches have on a player is astronomical. This event Friday is a prime example of just that. Being selfless, giving back to the community that supports you, and giving a young man the “best day ever,” is what it is all about.

We have reached the halfway point of the regular season and we have learned that Breathitt Football is back and are a real contender for a state championship. While winning a state championship is yet to be determined, one thing is for sure…. Coach Moore and the Bobcats are making all of Eastern Kentucky proud, and are representing Breathitt County well. Breathitt County is fortunate to have a coaching staff willing to expose our youth to the real world. The fact is, everyone of these players will eventually have to hang their pads up for good, but what they learn while playing will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Breathitt Football, it’s bigger than a game!

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