On the night of September 9th, 2016, two rival teams, Loy Norrix High School and Kalamazoo Central High School, fought for the title of the city. Lights were shining on the field, and out came both teams, Kalamazoo Central in pink and Loy Norrix in blue. Blue and pink are the colors representative for breast and prostate cancer.
Loy Norrix alumni T.J. and Tico Duckett donated jerseys for the football game in memory of their mother Jacquelyn, who died of breast cancer. She battled breast cancer for 10 years before she passed away.
“It was a very tragic death,” said their father Ted Duckett, who has been working at Loy Norrix high school for 47 years.
When asked why those colors are significant, T.J. Duckett said, “It represents women and men in their struggle [against cancer] for life.”
T.J. played for the Loy Norrix football team from 1995 until 1998, and Tico from 1984 until 1988. Both T.J and Tico went on to play college football at Michigan State University. Tico played running back for four years at MSU before going on to play with the Washington Redskins for one year.
T.J went on to play in the NFL (national football league) for six years for multiple teams including the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. Throughout his six years in the league, he played 93 games and had 44 touchdowns.
Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix have been rivals since Loy Norrix was built in 1960. The overall football record between the two schools is Kalamazoo Central with 39 wins and Loy Norrix with 18 wins from a total of 57 games. Every time that these two teams play, out comes the school spirit that makes up the rivalry.
Both T.J and Tico said that this game is the highlight of the year. The final score of this year’s game was 41-13 in Kalamazoo Central’s favor.
“It feels great! Makes you remember good times,” replied Tico when asked what it feels like to come back to Norrix. “It brings back memories that you have forgotten.”
It’s great to have two former players and student come back and donate the jerseys for a great cause. “Donating money or things to anything is great, but when it’s for a cause like this, it’s just fantastic,” said Loy Norrix sophomore Will Dales, who is a big fan of Loy Norrix football.