It was a challenge for brothers Scott and Christian Scase of the Beechcroft High School football team to keep their emotions in check Oct. 11 at Columbus East.
Just being back on the field after neither was able to play the week before brought both a sense of jubilation.
Seeing their father hobble down to the field after the Cougars' 21-14 overtime win made it difficult to hold back tears.
Their father, Scott Scase, had tumors removed from his back earlier this month and needed use of a cane to reach the field.
Cougars coach Bruce Ward then presented the Scases' father with the game ball.
"I've never seen a game ball given out, and it meant so much since we've faced so much adversity," Christian said. "I started crying because there was so much emotion."
"When he came onto the field, everybody was hugging him," Scott said of his father. "He comes to practices and feels like these are his own kids. He was in the hospital for three or four days and when he came out of surgery he was in a lot of pain. Playing has been a real big help."
Christian, a sophomore, has started most of this season at center for the Cougars, who are 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the City League-North Division.
Scott is a junior who started the season's first three games at quarterback and since has played several positions, including linebacker and safety.
During the late spring, the Scases' father began experiencing swelling in his legs and feet.
It then was discovered that he had tumors in his back.
On Oct. 2, as the Cougars were preparing to play Mifflin the next night in a key City-North game that was to be televised live, he went in for surgery.
To remove each of the masses that had developed, the surgeon also removed the L2, L3, L4 and L5 vertebrae and inserted metal rods in his back.
The Scase brothers elected not to play Oct. 3 because of the surgery, and the Cougars lost 21-20 to Mifflin.
Their father watched the game from his hospital bed and remained in the hospital until the end of that weekend.
It later was determined that some of the removed tumorous area was not cancerous, but a portion of the mass still was being tested.
Having their father receive the game ball was a bright spot amid a difficult few months for the family. In early September, an uncle of the Scase brothers died of a stroke.
"After the (East) game, (Ward) said, 'I know how hard it's been with your dad being hurt,' and that 'We love you guys' and tossed him the game ball," Scott said. "(My father) has slept with it since he got the game ball and I think he's brought it with him pretty much everywhere."
"As soon as I got to the stadium, the players started clapping," the elder Scott Scase said. "When they gave me the game ball I broke down in tears. I couldn't believe they gave me that game ball. When I get some extra money I want to put it up in a glass case so nothing happens to it."
The Scase brothers, according to Ward, played key roles in the win over East.
"They missed the Thursday game against Mifflin, but I told them that football is a fraction of what's important," Ward said. "We missed them on the field, but it's small compared to what they've been going through. Scott had a tremendous game on defense (against East) and Christian played every snap at center. I appreciated them just being there."
Bearcats, Vikings in title, playoff races
Beechcroft has won at least a share of the last three City-North football championships, but Brookhaven and Northland are the top contenders for this year's title.
The Bearcats are 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the league and the Vikings are 6-1 and 4-1, with their loss coming to Brookhaven 29-28 in overtime Sept. 20.
Mifflin is 5-3 and 4-1.
"I'm not going to lie -- this is an exciting time," Northland coach Kevin Tooson said. "You kind of know going into the season that you've got some pieces, but we've got some explosive, athletic kids and they're good kids with good attitudes. One kid that has really emerged as a leader is Corbin Bannister at free safety and slot receiver. He's wise beyond his years."
In Northland's 42-7 win over Mifflin on Oct. 11, Jhustus Cornley had a 99-yard touchdown run and finished with four rushes for 150 yards and two scores.
While the Vikings are battling for a playoff spot in Division II, Region 5, Brookhaven, Beechcroft and Mifflin are competing for spots in Division III, Region 9.
The last league title for the Bearcats came in 2009.
Northland and Beechcroft shared the league title in 2010, which also marked the only season the Vikings have made the playoffs.
Football | Week 9
BEECHCROFT at CENTENNIAL
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
•Last meeting: 2012, Beechcroft 55-15
•Beechcroft (4-4 overall, 3-2 in City-North) to date: Defeated Dayton Dunbar 14-0; lost to Dublin Jerome 26-14; lost to Walnut Ridge 24-0; def. Whetstone 15-8; def. Linden-McKinley 81-8; lost to Mifflin 21-20; def. Columbus East 21-14 (OT); lost to Brookhaven 34-7
•Centennial (4-4 overall, 2-3 in City-North) to date: Def. Grandview 20-7; def. Franklin Heights 48-47; lost to Bexley 34-22; def. Linden 28-18; lost to Mifflin 53-21; lost to Northland 55-6; lost to Brookhaven 54-7; def. East 54-24
•Top Cougars: Adonis Davis (RB/LB), Darius Ford (WR/DB), Khalor Franklin (RB/LB), Rayshawn Norah (WR/DB) and Mike Powers (QB/DB)
•Top Stars: Jirequez Fair-Harris (TE/LB), Jeremy Johnson (QB/P), Kenny Lambert (OL/DL), Noah Martin (OL/DL), Tyler Patterson (WR) and Darsean Watts (RB/LB)
EAST at BROOKHAVEN
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
•Last meeting: 2012, Brookhaven 47-6
•East (1-7 overall, 0-5 in City-North) to date: Lost to Hamilton Township 48-6; def. Briggs 52-32; lost to Westland 28-12; lost to Mifflin 48-12; lost to Northland 64-20; lost to Whetstone 44-26; lost to Beechcroft 21-14 (OT); lost to Centennial 54-24
•Brookhaven (6-2 overall, 5-0 in City-North) to date: Def. Columbus West 49-20; lost to Marion-Franklin 27-2; lost to Central Crossing 10-7; def. Northland 29-28 (OT); def. Whetstone 46-24; def. Linden 33-0; def. Centennial 54-7; def. Beechcroft 34-7
•Top Tigers: Asa Burke (RB/DB), Nick Burke (TE/LB), James Curry (QB), Abul Dialo (RBN/DB) and Zay'on Mock (WR/DB)
•Top Bearcats: Bruce Foster (QB/LB), Paul Hughes (TE/LB), Davonte Lewis (RB/LB), David Peoples (RB) and Takeyvion Simmons (RB/LB)
NORTHLAND at LINDEN
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
•Last meeting: 2012, Northland 27-6
•Northland (6-1 overall, 4-1 in City-North) to date: Def. Independence 20-18; def. Cincinnati Taft 36-30; lost to Brookhaven 29-28 (OT); def. East 64-20; def. Centennial 55-6; def. Mifflin 42-7; def. Whetstone 33-24
•Linden (1-7 overall, 0-5 in City-North) to date: Def. Africentric 28-0; lost to West 33-22; lost to Columbus South 48-6; lost to Centennial 28-18; lost to Beechcroft 81-8; lost to Brookhaven 33-0; lost to Whetstone 36-0; lost to Mifflin 33-6
•Top Vikings: Jhustus Cornley (WR/DB), Nicholas Fischer (QB), Nateshawn Hargrove (RB/LB), Malcolm Marshall (WR/DB), Glenn Smith III (WR) and Abu Turay (RB/DB)
•Top Panthers: Nick Battle (RB/LB), Davounte Cox (WR/DB), Marquise Mann (WR/DB), Jeff Schwalbauch (OL/DL), Hasan Vance (TE/DL) and James Williams (WR/DB)