SYFL's Reed Raiders off to Ohio for National Championship

Reno, Nev. (KOLO) - The SYFL's Reed Raider Mavericks are one of a kind.

"It's been incredible to see a bunch of 8 year olds just beast out and just have fun. That's what it's all about," said Monica Blas-Barlow, a parent of one of the players.

The youth program already made a name for itself going undefeated in Northen Nevada. So last month the group hit the road to play other west coast powers in the CaliBowl.

"California was a great experience because we versus a lot of great teams," said lineman Hapa Maveni.

But Reed was the best. The Raiders continued their unbeaten streak winning three games in three days to capture the CaliBowl. But to the surprise of the team, it wasn't the climax to their season.

"We never thought that this thing in Ohio was going to happen," said head coach John Silver.

Reed learned they were one of eight teams to earn a chance to play for a youth national championship in Canton, Ohio.

"I think it's going to be a great experience for my whole entire team," said running back Ky-Mani Blas-Barlow.

The opportunity was there. But getting to Ohio was the team's biggest challenge to date.

"Sending an 8 year old across the country with us is a big thing," Silver said. "Most of these kids have never been on an airplane before."
"It definitely takes a village to raise one child, but it takes a whole city for us to get this team there and raise this team," added Monica.
Insert John Silver. The Raiders' head coach has made a career out of helping people as a member of the Reno Police Department, and he and his wife are doing the same for the team's 27 players.

"I went to school with kids who weren't able to play and I always knew I wanted to help kids out so that's what we've dedicated our lives to the last two years," Silver said.

Silver says enough money came in for the team to make an initial deposit for the trip. But all the other expenses were put on his credit card.

"It's called family. We're all one unit. These kids, all of the parents, we're like brothers and sisters and we all pull together for every one of the boys on the team," Monica said.

"I think it has taught them life lessons. That if you put your mind to something and work hard you can do it," Silver added.