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Red Devils win on emotional night

Published: 10/27/12 @ 12:05


By Greg gulas

sports@vindy.com

CAMPBELL

The Campbell Memorial High football program has had its share of heartache this season.

Quarterback Brandon Reyes lost his mother, Lisa Valerio, to breast cancer on May 26. Several weeks before the season, Brandon and Aaron Jackson also lost their mother to the disease.

Add Gary Pushcar, Red Devils equipment manager, to the mix when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and you see just how special the fight this season has been.

Reyes saved his best for the regular-season finale as he passed for 148 yards and a touchdown. Reyes added 69 more yards rushing to help the Red Devils to a 40-20 win over Girard Friday at John Knapick Field.

It was the school’s first “Pink Out” game. The aim was to raise dollars and awareness of breast cancer research in October.

In a game that featured nine turnovers (five by the Indians), the Red Devils needed a 28-point fourth quarter to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

“Some very meaningful people haven’t been with us this season,” Red Devils coach Mickey Sikora said. “Deep down, I just know that both Brandon [Reyes], and Brandon and Aaron Jackson’s mothers are looking down on them and our team, and are very proud of what they have accomplished this season.”

“Add Gary and his diagnosis and it has been a very trying season for everyone,” Sikora said. “It was Gary’s wife, Patty, who bought all of the pink socks for our players to wear, which we have worn the entire month of October,” he added.

Adrien Brown’s second touchdown, a 7-yard run with 10:48 remaining, put Campbell (6-4, 5-2 All-American Conference National Division) ahead 20-12.

Reyes then found Motrel Hughes for a 77-yard score.

Reyes has worn two pink wristbands all season long — one that honors his mother with R.I.P and the date of her passing on one arm and Find a Cure on the other arm.

“This game really meant a lot to me for so many different reasons,” Reyes said. “When things went wrong this season I just looked up to the sky and I knew that my Mom was looking out for not only me, but the team as well.

“The playoffs will be an added bonus, but the way this has team played all season long and how we fought with our backs against the wall was just a fitting way to end the regular season,” Reyes said.

Campbell is eighth in this week’s computer playoff ratings for Division V Region 17.

James Cupan scored three touchdowns for the Indians (1-9, 1-6).

“All week long, we were told by the coaching staff not to let Girard’s 1-8 record fool us, that their record wasn’t indicative of the type of team they were,” Brown said. Nick Cardiero’s 9-yard scoring pass to Cupan cut the Red Devils’ lead to 27-20.

The Red Devils responded with two defensive scores.

First, Brown’s 39-yard fumble return restored a two-touchdown margin. Corey Hamilton returned an interception 70 yards to end the scoring.

“This has been the story of our season,” Girard coach Nick Cochran said. “While we’ve made some great stops defensively, we haven’t been able to cash in.”