California high school football's District Championships will be decided this weekend and, as his team plays for a title, a Placer County senior is also playing for sick kids.
Del Oro's Ryan Whalley has made some pretty impressive field goals in his four-years at the Loomis High School - including a 52-yard game winner against Lincoln last year. But this year, each of the placekicker’s successful boots is going to help kids battling cancer.
“I kick for this organization called Kick it for Cancer,” said Whalley. “You ask for donations from families – per point. So if I kick a PAT then one dollar automatically goes to the fund which is then donated to the families."
Whalley was inspired by a childhood friend's brother who battled cancer when the kicker was "a little kid."
Between extra points and field goals, Whalley has scored 49 points so far this season. He hopes to pass his initial goal of 50 when the Golden Eagles meet Central Catholic of Modesto Saturday afternoon for the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division Two Title.
“He’s a pretty special kid who stays pretty balanced but you could tell that it was definitely something that he took a lot of pride in,” said Del Oro Coach Jeff Walters. “The idea of being able to somehow contribute to bringing some light to families who are going through some pretty traumatic things.”
Coach Walters says he's been inspired by his kicker's effort this season - noting that, as a teacher, it’s great to see student-athletes with an understanding that, in the bigger game of life, there's an importance in doing things for others.