By Chantee Lans, WBZ-TV

BOLTON (CBS) – Led on the field by his youth football team, Nashoba Coach John Snoonian became an honorary captain of the Nashoba High School football team during the school’s Friday football game.

“It’s really overwhelming. It’s really a fuel that is really keeping me going through these challenging times that I’m facing medically,” said Snoonian. ‘Coach John’ as his players call him has had diabetes for more than three decades. Last year, both of his kidneys failed.

READ MORE: Man Secretly Buys Ice Cream For Everyone In Line At Nanabette's In Woburn

John Snoonian Nashoba Youth Football Coach (WBZ-TV)

“The medicines aren’t working and the kidney function kept getting worse and worse and now it’s at a situation where it’s really critical,” explained Snoonian.

His players, who are between the ages eight and ten, banned together to help find him a kidney donor. At least a dozen potential donors signed up to be a match. “So far, they haven’t gotten anything yet but I know they’ll get something soon,” expressed Vincent Snoonian who is one of two of Coach John’s sons who play on the team. His other son is named Dante. His wife Susan Unger is an assistant coach.

“He was excepted onto the transplant program with UMass Worcester and started dialysis in March and he’s currently hooked up to a machine seven nights a week for 10 hours at time,” said Unger.

READ MORE: Massachusetts State House Remains Closed To Public Weeks After COVID Restrictions Lifted

John Snoonian Nashoba Youth Football Coach (Image credit Chantee Lans)

Friday night on the field, Coach John forgot about his pain. As honorary captain, the father of four led the high school game’s coin toss.

Although John Snoonian’s players are glad to see him at a game, that hasn’t always been the case. Because of his health, he can no longer make practices.

“He’s a really good coach. It doesn’t feel the same without him here because last year he was here like all the time and it doesn’t feel right really,” said player Joey Altongy.

MORE NEWS: Gillette Stadium Mass COVID Vaccination Site Closes

Coach John’s energy returned to the field on Friday. Nashoba beat Middlesex 42 to 0 to remain undefeated. “It keeps me pressing on and wanting to have the will to keep going so that I can stay part of this wonderful community for years to come,” said Snoonian.