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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Warriors, Lumberjacks to tackle cancer Friday

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The Brainerd Warriors and Bemidji Lumberjacks won’t only be tackling each other Friday night.

They will also be tackling cancer in one of 132 contests statewide that have been designated as “Tackle Cancer” games this fall. Fans will be encouraged to donate to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund (RSCRCF), whose mission is to support the Minnesota cancer community by funding research, prevention, treatment and other programs relating to the cancer community’s needs.

Shaver, current news anchor and former sports anchor for KARE-TV in Minneapolis, has been covering high school football on Friday nights in Minnesota for 29 years. His fund is partnering with the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA). It challenges every high school football team to sponsor a “Tackle Cancer” game in September.

Ninety percent of all dollars collected will go directly to cancer research and treatments. Shaver’s foundation has raised more than $4 million. The team that raises the highest amount of dollars per student enrollment will be featured on KARE Sports in October.

The Brainerd Warriors Football Association will lead volunteer efforts in accepting donations Friday.

“I’m proud that we’re partnering with (the RSCRCF) mainly because there are very few of us that haven’t been touched by cancer in some way. The battle is ongoing,” said Warriors head coach Ron Stolski, who’s executive director of the MFCA. “When the opportunity came for (the MFCA) to partner (with RSCRCF) it didn’t take a lot of discussion for us to decide this is what we ought to do, this is what we need to do, this is what we’re pleased to do.

“Momentum is really growing across the state. Literally all of the funds are dedicated to cancer research. We encourage our fans to dig a little deeper on Friday night, not just with their spirit, but with their pocketbook, and make a contribution to this statewide effort.”

Bemidji played its “Tackle Cancer” game last week, a 14-7 win over Duluth East. Lumberjacks coach Troy Hendricks said the effort raised at least $1,700.

“Our kids went out and tried to get people to come to the game and make a donation when they got there,” Hendricks said. “Our kids were very much a part of it. It was not a bunch of parents doing it, it was strictly the kids. And, we asked each kid at Bemidji High School to donate $1.”

Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at