HOWELLS, Neb. – If you’re not paying close attention, Howells-Dodge senior football player Jordon Brichacek and his brother Tyler could be mistaken as twins.
“They’re exact copies of each other, they act alike, look alike, do they same things, into sports, girls, anything, they’re just both alike,” says teammate and friend Ryan Macholan.
“Their approach to the game is very similar, they both are going to work as hard as they can and both give you every ounce of effort they got,” says Howells-Dodge Head Coach Mike Speirs.
But, when Tyler was first diagnosed with cancer while he was still in high school, it wasn’t only tough on Tyler and his family, but the entire Howells-Dodge community.
“Ohhh when Tyler got cancer for the first time, that was like a punch in the gut,” says Macholan.
Since then, Tyler, who graduated in 2016, has fought off cancer twice, but a different form recently came back this year and he needed a transplant surgery in August to stay alive.
This came around the same time Howells-Dodge, who was primed for a state title run, began fall practice. So Jordon dedicated his senior year to his big bro with hopes his Jaguars can get to Memorial Stadium.
“It was my whole dream through high school, I want to win so bad and with this going on, it would put a smile on everybody’s face and obviously, I’m doing it for my brother,” says Jordon Brichacek.
“You knew it was weighing heavy on him and he was concerned about it, but he just came in everyday and did whatever he needed to for the team,” says Speirs.
The cancer battle forced Jordon and Tyler’s parents to move to Omaha, where Tyler is currently living to stay close to his doctors. That move makes Jordon fend for himself at home on the weekdays, before making a trip east on Saturday.
“Every weekend me and some friends usually go down there and see him. Hang out with him,” says Brichacek.
Still even after surgery, there has been setbacks, just before their opening game against East Butler, Tyler had a bad reaction to a medication he was taking.
“He couldn’t walk and he could barely move his hands, so they had to take him to the hospital,” says Brichacek.
After a thrilling 26-20 win over the Tigers where Jordon, a fullback and cornerback, scored a crucial touchdown, he then led not only his team, but also East Butler, in a prayer for Tyler at midfield.
“That’s more than just the game of football and they’re a good team and after a tough game like that, that’s just awesome,” says Brichacek.
Now the Jags sit at 4-0 on the season and are a contender to win Class D-1.
“He never really said it, but you just know, give it your all, do what you what you can to win state,” says Brichacek.
And if they can make it to the state championship, Jordon may just have a special guest in the stands.
“It’d be just awesome if he’d be able to be there….it’d be sweet,” says Brichacek.