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Once August rolls around, you don't need too many reasons to get high school football players excited.

After a six-month offseason, and two grueling months of summer offseason workouts, Monday begins the heat acclimation period — the true beginning of the new football season.

Surely, the players are ready. They've been looking ahead to the 2015 season since the moment the 2014 one ended. There's no need to try to get them pumped up. That's been months in the making. But, motivation? Give football players any extra bit of motivation and they'll use it to their advantage, no matter how substantial or minute.

As the 2015 high school football season nears, Northeastern has more motivation than most teams. Fresh off a 5-5 campaign in which the Bobcats went just 2-5 in York-Adams Division I play, the hunger to get back to the postseason is a strong driving force. The desire to get back to the District 3 playoffs is so intense that, when the Bobcats run out onto the field for the first time this season, they'll be even more committed to making every play better than the one before it.

But, the Bobcats' single biggest motivator isn't the postseason, or winning a division championship. Rather, the Bobcats' desire will be fueled by a teammate who won't be among those running onto the field to compete in the team's orange-and-black uniforms on opening night.

Josey's battle: Marcus Josey was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) back in April. It put an end to the quarterback's upcoming senior season of football before it ever had a chance to begin. But, at the time, that was the least of his worries. He had health issues far more important to deal with.

Over the next four months, he was in and out of treatment to fight the cancer at the Hershey Medical Center. All the while, the Northeastern football team was in the weight room preparing for the upcoming season. And when they weren't, they were helping Josey fight his own battle.

The Northeastern and York County communities helped to raise more than $9,000 on the Keep #MarcusStrong webpage on the crowd-sourcing website GoFundMe.com. On top of that, thousands more were raised for his family and medical expenses through various other fundraisers, including getting shirts made that read #MarcusStrong or Marcus's Mob. Within the football team, even though he couldn't take part in the offseason workouts, his presence was still felt.

"He's been our best friend since we were little. We've been playing football with him for a long time, so it's not like he's not there," senior wide receiver David Ankney said during York-Adams Football Media Day on Monday. "He's still there with us and everything."

That is, when he could be. On the days when Josey was in the hospital getting treatment, attending team functions was out of the question. But, when he was feeling up to it, he was always there with his teammates.

"He comes to a lot of our practices when he can and he's healthy enough," senior linebacker and wide receiver Gary Gobernik said. "... He's still a part of our team, just he's not playing."