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Cross Kubik leads Kickapoo High School onto the football field for home opener

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Kickapoo High School football team’s home opener looked a little different Friday with someone new leading the charge.

Cross Kubik, a 17-year-old senior at Kickapoo High School, is a two-time cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with cancer once when he was very young and most recently last year.

Kubik survived cancer for a second time after receiving a bone marrow donation from his 12-year-old sister.

On Friday, Kubik ran out with the Kickapoo High School football team, which he says was an unforgettable experience.

“Felt great being able to lead the team and just be with my good friends,” said Kubik. “All my good friends were right in the front. I didn’t know they would be up there.”

Drew Phillips, a close friend of Kubik and a center for the football team, said he is an inspiration.

“I’m super excited that he’s going to lead us out,” said Phillips. “He’s been a huge inspiration to athletes all over the area really.”

Kubik, a standout pitcher for Kickapoo High School, made his return to the diamond last year after moving to Memphis for treatment.

When Kubik returned to Springfield, Kickapoo football coach Nate Thomas asked for a special request.

“I saw him and he gave me the biggest hug ever, and biggest smile ever, and asked me to lead the team out there first home game of the season right then and there,” said Kubik.

Kubik decided to stop playing football his sophomore year after a back injury, but Thomas said no one ever leaves the team.

“When you leave our program, you’re not really leaving our program,” said Thomas. “You’re part of this family until you know the day they put me in the ground. So my door’s always open. We treat everybody like family.”

Kubik said this gesture at the game meant everything to him.

“It means the world,” said Kubik. “That means that I have motivated a lot of people. It means that this whole team, this whole Kickapoo community cares about me more than anything, so it means the world.”

Kubik also said he couldn’t appreciate the opportunity more.

“I definitely embraced that memory for sure,” said Kubik. “It will be one of my top memories from Kickapoo High School for sure.”

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