MOUNT VERNON — After playing 60 minutes, two teams huddled at midfield and faced each other one more time.
This time, it was for a different type of handoff.
Cornell Coach Vince Brautigam talked briefly before a check was presented to Tonya and Taylor Dicus, the wife and daughter of Rams offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Don Dicus, who is fighting cancer.
The Cornell community has held fundraisers and events devoted to cancer awareness, but this time the support came from Monmouth Coach Chad Braun and the Fighting Scots.
“There are things that go on that are a lot more important in families’ lives and people getting sick,” Brautigam said after Monmouth’s 61-10 victory Saturday at Ash Park. “It has happened to us and our team. The great thing about football is once the game is done you bring different fans, kids and coaching staffs from both teams and support one another.”
Dicus was diagnosed Primary CNS Lymphoma on June 26 and has not been with the team this season. The gesture and support caused Tonya Dicus to become visibly emotional.
“It’s a football family,” Tonya Dicus said. “At the end of the day, it’s a football game. There are more important things in life. Perspectives really do change. They’ve been behind us the whole time.
“It’s nice to see another team in the Midwest Conference come up and support us.”
Dicus continues to undergo treatment and has made progress. He still faces a tough fight.
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“He’s doing pretty good,” Tonya Dicus said. “The doctors are pleased with his treatment and his status at this point. We go day-by-day. That’s all we can do.”
Unfortunately, the Rams (2-5, 0-3 Midwest Conference South) suffered their fourth straight loss, including a third in decisive fashion.
The Fighting Scots (6-1, 3-0) led throughout, taking a 13-0 lead after one quarter and increasing it to 30-3 by halftime. Monmouth scored in all phases of the game, including Micam Smith’s 12-yard blocked punt return for a TD and Easton Schaber’s 28-yard interception return for a score that made it 44-3 in the third.
“We don’t like to lose,” Brautigam said. “I don’t think anybody does. This program has had high points and right now we’re going through a little bit of a low point.”
Monmouth outgained Cornell, 564-88, holding the injury-plagued Rams offense to just five yards passing and 2.6 yards per rush. Deandre Wright rushed for 117 and Hayden Nelson threw for 173 yards and three TDs for the Fighting Scots.
Special teams were a bright spot for Cornell. Aaron Nicoll drilled a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter and Blake MacDowell added a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD with 11:27 left.
“I saw them handle adversity much better than they have the last game or two,” Brautigam said. “We work on that and we have more than a few starters out but injuries are the game of football, too.”
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