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Timmons enjoying time with soccer team

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Reynoldsburg boys soccer coach Thomie Timmons instructs his team during the first half of a 6-0 loss to host Gahanna on Sept. 10. Timmons coached the Raiders in 1996 and '97 before stepping down after learning his then-2-year-old son Joe had cancer. Joe is a 2013 Reynoldsburg graduate.
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It was during his second season as coach of the Reynoldsburg High School boys soccer team in 1997 when Thomie Timmons and his family made a discovery that changed their lives.

During bath time one evening in September of that year, Timmons' wife, Michele, found blood in the urine of their 2-year-old son, Joe.

The family went to a doctor, who gave Joe an ultrasound and set him up for surgery the next day.

He was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor, which according to cancer.org is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children.

Although the four-year survival rate for children with a Wilms tumor is about 90 percent, Timmons stepped down from coaching at the end of the 1997 season to focus on his family.

"They said if you get the Wilms tumor early it's pretty curable," he said. "Joe was going through nine months of (chemotherapy). I finished off the season coaching. The hospital wanted him to keep coming in to check on him and I think he was in eighth grade when they said he was pretty much guaranteed to stay cancer free."

Over the years, Timmons coached soccer at the youth and club levels while his three sons grew up. Joe is a 2013 Reynoldsburg graduate, Andy is a junior at Reynoldsburg and John is in fifth grade.

When Justin Lewis stepped down this past offseason after the program went 24-25-8 in his three seasons as the Raiders' coach, Reynoldsburg athletics director Jack Purtell called Timmons to ask if he'd be interested in returning.

Timmons, who also had been an assistant with the Raiders from 1993-95, accepted.

September has been deemed Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by presidential proclamation.

Although Joe suffered kidney damage from the Wilms tumor, he was permitted by doctors to play most sports, including soccer.

He was in the program in 2011 when the Raiders won their first Division I district championship since 1985 and was part of a 12-member senior class a year ago.

Andy is a defender who scored his first goal this season during a 1-all tie with Zanesville on Sept. 7.

"It's been cool," Andy said of playing for his father. "I'm not late for anything. He's using a lot different of an approach this year with a lot more subbing. I played for my dad in elementary school. He's certainly enjoying (coaching Reynoldsburg) a lot."

The Raiders were 2-4-3 overall after defeating Central Crossing 2-0 on Sept. 12 and 1-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division before playing Pickerington North on Sept. 17.

In a 5-3 win over Pickerington Central on Sept. 3, senior forward Antonio Nocevski scored three goals.

Timmons, who is a 1984 Grove City graduate, has been a teacher in Reynoldsburg for more than 20 years and currently teaches at the Summit Campus.

On Sept. 9, he attended the Pickerington Central at Pickerington North boys soccer game, which was designated to help raise breast cancer awareness and money.

Earlier this year, Timmons sat down with North coach Darrin Monhollen before accepting the coaching position to talk about his potential return.

Monhollen coached one of Andy's teams before high school.

"I'm probably supposed to hate him because he's from Pickerington, but he did some special things for me as a coach," Timmons said, jokingly. "It's a good rivalry, but a good friendly rivalry on and off the field."

"He has good rapport with the kids, but he just wanted to talk about how to build an appropriate culture for a high school soccer team, and he obviously had some questions for me in regards to how we do things," Monhollen said. "He and I joked that parents would raise their eyebrows if they knew we worked together, but quite frankly how the OCC is set up now, it's a lot of neighboring communities. ... He's certainly somebody who's committed to wanting to help the kids have a good experience on and off the field. He's a good, quality guy."

Wallace running well for Raiders

Junior Leah Wallace captured her first girls cross country meet title this season when she ran 19 minutes, 5.57 seconds to top a field of 165 runners in the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 7 at Watkins Memorial.

She edged Upper Arlington sophomore Ann Heuerman (19:07.23) for first.

Wallace will have a chance to defend a title Saturday, Sept. 21, when the Raiders compete in the Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster. Last season, she was first in the 14-team Division I race in 18:45.

Girls volleyball team in midst of OCC play

The girls volleyball team was 2-9 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Ohio after losing to Newark 20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-15 on Sept. 12 and before playing Groveport on Sept. 17.

The Raiders earned their victories over Westland 27-25, 22-25, 26-24 on Aug. 17 and Zanesville 25-17, 27-25, 26-24 on Aug. 24.

All six of Reynoldsburg's remaining regular-season opponents are from the OCC-Ohio.

The Raiders had lost 22 consecutive league matches before playing Groveport. Their last league win came Oct. 6, 2011, when they beat Groveport 25-22, 25-18, 25-22.

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