BILLINGS – The Class B all-star football game kicks off Friday night at 7 p.m. at Herb Klindt Field on the Rocky Mountain College campus.
But one of the classification’s brightest starts won’t be playing. Luke Gonsioroski, the standout quarterback from Baker High School, has been sidelined again after his cancer returned.
“For any young person that’s got a medical issue like this, it’s just very, very tough – tough mentally, tough physically,” said Baker football coach Dave Breitbach. “It’s taken its toll on his family and those types of things. Words will never explain how deeply sorry we are, and I just wish there was something that an old guy could give him that would make him healthy. It would be one thing if it was me going through this; I’ve lived a long life. Somebody so young, it’s just terrible to see and hopefully he can get it under control and get his life back to normal. Whether he puts on pads again, that’s the least of our concerns.”
Gonsioroski was first diagnosed with cancer last spring. He started chemotherapy treatments on March 29. After just three rounds of chemo, the cancer was gone, clearing the way for surgery to remove a large tumor from Gonsioroski’s chest.
Doctors at the Yale Cancer Center in Connecticut performed a 16-hour surgery to remove an eight-pound mass from the top lobe of Gonsioroski’s right lung. He was cancer free, and was miraculously back on the football field for the Baker Spartans last fall.
Gonsioroski put up another solid season at Baker and helped lead the Spartans back to the Class B state football playoffs. He parlayed his spectacular high school career into an opportunity to play at Texas Tech as a preferred walk-on. Gonsioroski announced his commitment to the Red Raiders in January.
Just a couple months later, though, Gonsioroski was on the sidelines again. After a promising start to the track and field season, Gonsioroski came down with what was first diagnosed as mononucleosis. Despite treatments and medications, Gonsioroski never improved, so doctors started to dig deeper. While the rest of his Baker teammates were preparing for the Southern B divisional track and field meet, Gonsioroski was learning that doctors found spots on his liver and spleen.
Multiple biopsies confirmed the news: Gonsioroski’s cancer was back.
Gonsioroski, always affable and eternally optimistic, is again keeping a positive attitude through his trials, already having started his chemo treatments. Montanans offered Gonsioroski and his family endless support and prayers during his last fight, and the family is asking for more of the same this year.
“I’ve had calls from Colstrip, Huntley Project this week from parents trying to reach out and help any way they can,” Breitbach said. “It’s touching to know how much people care, and that goes statewide: Everybody is willing to bend over backwards for someone.”