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Omaha Burke's 'winning' lessons on and off field

Posted at 4:06 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 17:08:23-05

Effort and toughness is a creed you'll often hear at Burke High School.

On Monday night, the football team certainly put everything on the line during the Class A Football State Championship before clinching the win at Memorial Stadium. The sweet victory comes after playing in three state title games only to walk away without the hardware.

For head coach Paul Limongi, who's been at Burke High for 13 years, the game still lingers back at the campus Tuesday morning.

"Last night was about family," he said. "It was about brotherhood."

It was also about resiliency - something Limongi knows first hand after fighting tonsil cancer earlier this year. Months after the diagnosis, a cellphone video captures the moment the team celebrated its first win before the season when doctors declared its coach cancer-free.

Just like how the team stood by Limongi's side during his fight, its coach eagerly did the same Monday when his guys won.

"It felt great," said James Burke, 17, a senior. "I love that man so just knowing that I made him satisfy and  him happy makes me happy."

Xavier Watts agrees.

I see it as a win for the coach too because he really deserved it and we finally did it for him, Watts said.

On and off the field, there is a shared truth for Limongi. In the game of life, like sports, you'll experience valleys and peaks. But it's when life knocks you down you discover who you are..

"It happens," Limongi said. "You just got to keep fighting. It's never over until you say its over."