REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Malachi Rios is a junior at Reedley High School. He's a linebacker on the football team but the challenge he's facing now is off the field.
"To see somebody young, in shape, such a good person and student, it kind of does shock you," Reedley High football head coach Tony Gates says. "It shocked me for a little bit."
Last week, Malachi was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer that metastasized.
He had been experiencing lower back pain then doctors found a lump.
A cancerous tumor.
Spreading throughout his body.
While he faces this fight with his family, his football family is coming together to offer support.
"We break the huddle at the end of every practice with "family" and I just said this that's easy to say when things are going well," Gates says. "Now we're all tested. Family is there in the good times and hard times."
Coach Gates says Malachi is a focused teenager and works hard for everything he wants.
"He worked his way into a starting position the good old fashioned way, with hard work, patience and perseverance," he says
He'll now focus that perseverance and patience into being a patient.
In the coming weeks, Malachi will start chemotherapy.
A grueling journey his family is preparing for.
"I tell the team before every game 'don't back down from anybody' and I told him don't back down from this. Beat this thing every day," Gates says.
His football family and the Reedley community are already pitching in creating a GoFundMe Page and planning fundraisers to help pay for medical costs.
Now, they're all leaning on their faith and football.
"Sports and particularly football has trained him for this moment to be strong, persevere, and have a good attitude," Gates says. "That's the advice we have him that initial night when he got the news."