June 9th, 2018 was a very emotional day for many coaches, players and fans. Fox Valley Force hosted the defending champions Minneapolis Warriors in their Cancer Awareness game. Almost everyone by now has been affected by cancer one or another as sad as it is. The Force brought their opponent and themselves and locked arms in the releasing of balloons dedicated to someone close to the Fox Valley Force.
That dedication was to Alex Truax, a former semi-pro football player, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Leonel Cortes and Truax were very close and when one player is affected by something, the whole team is affected. The night the Force heard what had happened, every single one of them were hurting for their teammate and the Truax family. Truax was a part of the Force back in 2016 for their off-season practices, although he never suited up with the Force, he made an impression with his teammates and coaches. Other current and former Force players played with or against Truax in some shape or form. The loss of one of their hits home.
When times are tough, people need people. The Force wanted to do something for the Truax family, Cortes, and all the cancer victims out there. By bringing the players together before the game and have each team go every other, symbolized the unity and strength we can have together when times are tough. The releasing of the balloons for Truax, was also a gesture to recognize what our league stands for. We play for the love of the game, and even at a small level, we try and show people have places to turn to. Semi pro football sometimes gets a bad reputation, but outsiders don’t realize what it truly brings together.
Most semipro teams bring events to their community, get involved with their community and start to build a brotherhood that lasts forever. Strangers join a team to compete and have fun, and at the end of the season, they have a new best friend, a new brother and a new family that is there through the good and bad times. We compete and want to win, but at the end of the day, guys get to do something that a lot of people can’t due to illness, ability or whatever the case may be.
After all that going in pregame, the players still end up playing a football game and compete as sports lovers enjoy. The game started out with a cancer survivor, Julie Bosetski who won her battle and is 6 years cancer free. She is the mother of Head Coach and part owner of the Fox Valley Force. Warriors won the toss and elected to defer.
Force started with the ball, and struggling offensively, the Force needed to change things up. That they did, coming out in a no huddle offense and driving right down the field where TJ Arndt ended up Connecting to Emanuel “Mo” Jenkins for a 19-yard touchdown. Jenkins, 42 years of age, has had many big games, but this one was very impressive considering his age. Beating father time and having a day of 10 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. The Warriors would end up answering back tying the game. Fc struggled to stop the Warriors running attack early and often. The Dark side has been the backbone to this team, but Warriors came out firing as well and giving that stingy defense a long day.
The game would go back and forth and then Warriors jumped out to a 21-10 lead with the Force catching some bad breaks. Then also costing themselves with mismanaging the clock and ran out of time on the 2-yard line and not being able to put points on the board. The Force would respond in the 3rd quarter with Jenkins’ second td grab of the day making the score 21-17. Jenkins and running back Tyrone Evans gave the offense a big boost Saturday but fell short. Evans had 161 yards on 17 carries. The Force ended up having a punt blocked that ended up sealing their fate after the Warriors would punch it in and take a 28-17 lead as that would stand as the final. The Force missed a lot of opportunities and end up falling to 2-2 in league play. Halfway through the season the Force is in the middle of the pack, but with a favorable schedule ahead based on standings, the Force looks to bounce back and make their playoff push. The Force will head to Rochester, MN this Saturday to face one of three new teams in the NEFL. Freeze transitioning from being a successful 9-man football franchise.