Only 45 minutes before Perham's semifinal game against Barnesville, Yellowjacket assistant coach Brian Schwantz got a text message that changed his life.

"My wife had seen it and she was going, 'I hope he doesn't look at his phone,' but I did and I found out there about a half hour before the game time that he had passed away," Schwantz said.

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Brian Schwantz
Brian Schwantz

It was his brother who had been battling cancer for nearly a year.

"When we went back to the locker room, I asked the team to do me a favor tonight," Schwantz added. "Can you do this for my brother?"

The team embraced Schwantz and won the semifinal game 55-39 and carried the spirit of Brian's brother Kevin all the way to its first section championship since 2013.

"He's a big part of this team and we know that we're a big part of his heart too and it's just awesome that we could get that win for him and get where we are now," Perham senior Josh Jeziorski said.

The Yellowjackets will head to the state tournament for the first time in six years with Kevin's spirit right by their side.