Coach battling cancer leads football team to state championship

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It's always exciting for a group of high school football players in Massachusetts to play on the same turf as the Patriots.

But it was even more special for one team this year.

Coach Derek Yanick led his team at Blackstone Valley Tech to state championships this fall - while fighting cancer.

Yanick was diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer just after Thanksgiving last year - but he didn't let that stop him from coaching his high school football team this fall.

Despite losing to Mashpee High in a close game Saturday night, Yanick was there cheering his kids on - just a few days after getting a special good luck message from Tom Brady.

Yanick says it was amazing to receive that personal message from Brady, especially before coaching his kids at Gillette.

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"He is a warrior. Coach Yanick is an amazing man," said Tom Mayo, a faculty member. "That really made it extremely special to be here, for the kids this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it's a memory they're going to have forever."

Even though they didn't take the title this year, Coach Yanick says he's hopeful his players will be back with him next year for another shot.

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