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Druley: Touchdowns bring donations

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 5:31 a.m. CST

Old Towne Pub & Eatery manager Chad Perry sees countless touchdowns on TV each weekend as he scurries about the Geneva establishment at 201 W. State St.

On Friday, nine TDs Perry didn’t witness turned out to be more memorable.

Before Geneva hosted Metea Valley in its home football finale last week, Old Towne brass pledged to donate $200 for every Vikings touchdown as part of a breast cancer awareness fundraiser. Geneva tallied nine touchdowns in a 61-48 win, securing $1,800 toward the cause with its highest regular-season output in two seasons.

“People in the community, friends of ours and customers were sending us funny messages during the game,” Perry said. “They thought it was funny, and we thought it was great.”

Old Towne also donated 10 percent of Friday and Saturday receipts from customers who mentioned the touchdown donation. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Geneva efforts were part of “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives,” a venture between the American Cancer Society, National Football League and high school teams nationwide.

Geneva seniors Amanda Lulek and Abby Paulson visited various downtown businesses seeking donations and also oversaw spare change donation buckets in the cafeteria during the week. Pink T-shirts and rally towels were on sale at the game, as well.

“I just thought it was great that the whole community could get involved,” Lulek said. “It wasn’t just the high school. Everyone was able to contribute in their own way.”

A forward on the Geneva girls soccer team, Lulek credited Paulson for being a much bigger presence on game night. It was Paulson, after all, who was on hand at Burgess Field. Lulek only attended a halftime ceremony honoring breast cancer survivors; she had undergone surgery that morning after recently aggravating a past injury during club season.

Still, she made the most of her cameo. Lulek’s mother, Terry, an eight-year breast cancer survivor, accepted pink carnations from her daughter on the field. Lulek wouldn’t dream of attempting to put a price tag on that exchange.

“She was crying. I teared up. It was good moment,” Lulek said.

We meet again: The Batavia boys cross country team elected to compete elsewhere on the weekend of Kaneland’s Larry Eddington Invitational in September, leaving a void in the annual friendly competition between the former conference rival Bulldogs and Knights.

One powwow and a trip to the pet store later, and everything changed. The schools’ boys programs are preparing to race for their first Silver Bone Trophy today.

With varsity regionals set for this weekend, the run will involve freshman-sophomore and junior varsity athletes.

The event will be at a 5K course on the Kaneland campus recently designed by Knights assistant cross country coach and head boys track coach Eric Baron.

Once the frosh-soph and JV scores are combined, the side with the lowest score will claim the aptly-named – and painted – hardware.

“It looks metallic like a Knights uniform, but it’s a dog bone because of the Bulldogs,” Kaneland coach Chad Clarey said.

The successor to the popular Eddington, who died in December 1994, Clarey brings a unique vantage point to the set-up.

A 1989 Kaneland graduate, Clarey lives in Batavia and is a teacher at Grace McWayne School there.

Longtime Bulldogs coach Mike DiDomenico was a friend of Eddington’s and always has been cordial with Clarey from the time he started. Clarey cites his relationship with DiDomenico and a shared philosophy in the unsung hero stature of a strong JV in making today’s race happen.

“Sometimes I feel like in addition to being a fellow Batavia teacher, it was also ‘D’ being interested in my being there [at Kaneland],” Clarey said. “He wanted to make sure Larry’s work would continue to succeed, so he wanted to offer his support always.”

• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or kdruley@shawmedia.com.

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