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High school football teams across America are uniting to raise funds to defeat childhood cancer with every touchdown scored this September. In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, MaxPreps and PLEDGE IT are joining forces to empower high school football teams across the country to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a new annual program, Touchdowns Against Cancer.

In less than a month, high school football players in all parts of the nation will compete with the common goal of defeating the enemy on the gridiron. These kids will strap on the pads, lace up the cleats, and emerge under the lights with a chance to accomplish what they’ve worked so hard all summer to achieve. Every yard they gain and every touchdown they score will bring them closer to their aspirations of being champions.

But this September, high school football players have the opportunity to accomplish more than just rack up yards, light up bulbs on scoreboards, and overcome their rivals on the field. They can do their part to defeat enemies off the field. They have a chance to cross the goal line and make it count for much more than just six points.

This year, touchdowns can save lives. And it’s going to be a team effort.

In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, PLEDGE IT, MaxPreps, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have joined forces to launch Touchdowns Against Cancer, a program that aims to unify high school football teams from coast to coast in the common goal of defeating childhood cancer.

The first-of-its-kind program allows teams to launch PLEDGE IT campaigns, which give their fans and the rest of the community the opportunity to pledge a donation for every touchdown scored from Sept. 15 to October 1. Funds raised through this campaign will benefit the lifesaving mission of St. Jude of finding cures and saving children who are fighting their own real battles against the ultimate enemy -- cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Friday-night lights will suddenly take on new meaning and the stakes of one of America’s most beloved institutions are now so much greater. High school football in the United States can suddenly mean so much more to the world.

Every year, more than 170,000 youngsters across the globe are diagnosed with cancer, and until now, no one would have ever thought that putting on a helmet and driving down the field could help that. But never have the myriad high school football teams across the country had the chance to compete against each other and at the same time, join together to fight for just that cause.

The potential payoff could turn “Hail Mary” from a heave and a prayer into a sure thing. Under the lights every Friday night, teams from Maine to California score more than 60,000 touchdowns. And when even a portion of those is combined with pledges from the community, the potential for both funds and awareness raised has no out of bounds.

That means this year, there’s no excuse to ride the pine. Athletic directors, athletes, parents, and fans -- encourage your coach to register your local team for Touchdowns Against Cancer. Do good for your community. Do good for your team. Do good for kids who are in the battle for their lives. Make a pledge and join the fight against pediatric cancer.

Since 2014, PLEDGE IT has helped professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and Olympics support their favorite charities, as well as countless colleges, high schools and youth teams.

PLEDGE IT has also worked with large charities such as The American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia and the Ronald McDonald House and has been featured on ESPN, USA TODAY, Fox Sports, MSNBC, Sports Illustrated and Ellen DeGeneres Show.