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MAGNA — Cyprus High rallied over the weekend against Murray, even though the Spartans walked away with a 49-7 road win.
But Friday night's rally was never about the gridiron contest.
The Pirates and the local Magna community were dedicating the game to 15-year-old student Alexis Gould, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma two weeks ago.
The community helped raise more than $43,000 for the Gould family to help with Alexis' cancer treatment, thanks in large part to a huge donation from an anonymous donor and a rally in the stands throughout the evening.
This is so awesome," said Alexis' father, Kris Gould. "It's overwhelmingly amazing."
The football team gave it a run early, when Bryan McConoha tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter on an 18-yard touchdown run. But the Spartans pulled away down the stretch in a "gold out" dedicated to their student colleague and friend that included T-shirts, wrist bands and plenty of teary eyes.
The students banded together through a social media campaign under the hashtag #AlexisStrong, a moment that touched the teenager as much as the crucial funds.
"It's so, so amazing," said Alexis, who performed with the school's drill team. "Words can't even explain how much this means to me.
"I didn't expect it to be this big. It's amazing to see everyone supporting me."
The Gould family's life has changed dramatically over the past two weeks, and to see the Magna community's outreach brought tears to the family's eyes, according to Alexis' mother Emily Gould.
"The support you can't put into words," she said. "Now we don't have to worry about the financial impact this would mean for the rest of our children. It's humbling to live amongst such great people."
Contributing: Rod Zundel