Columbia Rides Emotions To State Title Game 11-30-2010
Reported by Josh DeVine COLUMBIA, Tenn.
The Columbia Central High School Lions will take on Hendersonville for the 5A championship on Friday in Cookeville. The team has battled through adversity and will play with heavy hearts as one of their teammates fights an aggressive cancer. Colon cancer sidelined junior Dylan Rebeor, nicknamed "Clutch." "It was a shock, obviously, to myself as much as it was to all of us," said coach Vance Belew. In spite of the illness, Dylan returned to the sidelines Friday in a show of support. "We have benefited so much from his courageous battle," said Belew. But the team's fight against cancer doesnt end with Dylan. Last week, it claimed the life of the mother of another player, No. 89 Sam Cook. Cook showed up to Friday's game just moments after his mother's funeral. He wanted to be around his teammates, and I think that speaks well of the closeness of our players, said Belew. Also, the father of Columbias coach died of cancer when this seasons playoff season began. "A lot of our young guys on the team have grown up and become closer to being men because of this experience," said Belew. The Lions' fans will wear their teams color of purple, but also a lot of blue -- the advocacy color for colon cancer. The team was the runner-up in the state playoffs last season, but it is poised to win this the title this season. "We're going to be on an emotional high, like, the whole game. I mean, it's kind of a 'refuse-to-lose' attitude," said tackle Shaquille Mason.
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