The Pro Football Hall of Fame located in Canton, Ohio is the epicenter of the sport.
The greatest players to ever step foot on the gridiron are enshrined there, and a group of 19 under-12 football players from the west side of Oahu is doing their best to be a part of history.
The All Blacks Crusaders youth football program will represent the state of Hawaii in the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame National Youth Championship in Canton.
It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for many of these players, said head coach Jonathan Amano, who told Hawaii News Now that he too is overwhelmed with excitement of visiting the Hall of Fame and coaching his players in the biggest game of their lives.
Amano said that after winning their regional game in California last week, they’ve been scrambling ever since to raise enough money to get the whole team to fly to Ohio.
“We’re just blessed. We’re just blessed to just have this opportunity to go to Canton and any help will do,” he said.
The team, with some help from a dedicated group of parents, have set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $25,000 to accommodate the travel of the players.
“Basically what the whole deal is we’re just trying to get these kids exposure and get them out there and try to experience something that not many kids can do,” Amano said. “As far as fundraising, we have a great team parents that are working together to try to raise some funds. Whatever helps to get these kids up there; whatever helps, we’ll take it.”
The page was created just earlier this week and so far, has raised just $50 of its $25,000 goal.
Consisting of players from Kapolei, Ewa Beach. Barbers Point, Waianae, Nanakuli and Mililani, the All Blacks Crusaders are anxious to put Hawaii and youth football on the map - even if it means that they have to travel and play in 20 degree weather.
“I feel really excited and I just hope that my team and me just win the championship up there,” said inside-linebacker and slot receiver Jett Sablay. “And how we can put Hawaii on the map is that we could win in the tournament and get that “W.” Get that championship.”
To help with the team’s fundraising efforts, please click here.
For more information on the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame National Youth Championship, visit here.
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