Local football team to honor 6-year-old brain cancer victim

BOONE COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - The Thomas More College Saints football team led by Coach Jim Hilvert will honor the memory of Tony Merk, a six-year-old who served as honorary captain of the team prior to losing his battle with brain cancer.

Coach Hilvert and the Saints will present Tony's parents, Rick and Lynne, and his older brothers, Alex, Ben and Max, with a championship ring engraved with "Pray. Hope. Believe." prior to kick-off at the September 17th game against Geneva College.

Tony endured a three-year battle with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer, before he died on July 4th, 2011.

The Saints chose to engrave his and his family's motto, "Pray. Hope. Believe.," on their 2010 PAC championship rings. The ring they will present the Merk family on Saturday will also feature that motto. The ring presentation will occur just prior to kick-off, at approximately 1:20 p.m.

The Saints football team has also devoted the 2011 season to Tony and the Merk family. Players proudly display their "TONYBOY" decals on the back of the helmets. The 9th-ranked Saints football team is the second all-time winningest program by win percentage in NCAA Division III history and is expected to four-peat as President's Athletic Conference Champions this season.

General admission for the game is $5. Parking is $5. For more information, visit www.thomasmore.edu/athletics.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.