Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Finger Lakes

With The Clock Winding Down, Southside Cyclones Look To Complete A Hail Mary Pass

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Rochester: With The Clock Winding Down, Southside Cyclones Look To Complete A Hail Mary Pass
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They're the best football team their coach has ever seen, and the undefeated Southside Cyclones could be the first Rochester-area youth football team to go to the national Pop Warner Championship. But while the Cyclones are long on talent, they're short on cash.

Work hard, and you'll go far.

"They saw how being a team could accomplish so much," said Samantha Avies, a parent.

But 1,200 miles is further than the Southside Cyclones ever imagined.

"Yeah, trying to get down to Florida," said Thaj Avies.

Disneyworld; the Pop Warner World Championship. But the undefeated Cyclones, might not get there.

"Disney's expensive. So... it's gonna be tough," said Bob Huurman, team president.

Huurman has seen special football teams. But these Cyclones are a whole new ballgame.

"They've had six points scored against them all year this year, including the playoffs. They're dominating everybody they play," Huurman said.

Huurman wants badly to send his team to Florida. But with playoff trips before that to New Jersey and possibly Washington, D.C., there's serious doubt.

"It comes from the parents, and we're a city organization. Our parents don't have a lot of money."

Nine-hundred dollars per player is tough to pony up.

"It's one of the best experiences I have in my life -- to be in a sport, especially football," Thaj said.

Thaj Avies is a first-year Cyclones, and to go to Florida, he'll do anything.

"We'll help the community out with picking up yards. We'll collect cans."

Mom Samantha wants nothing more than for Thaj and his teammates to lift that trophy.

"They have the heart, and they have the skill. They just need the funds to get there," she said. "We'll take any sponsorship we can get. We're not beggars – or we're not choosy. We'll take anything we get."

It's their first time playing from behind all season.

"We can be great on the field. We don't have any problems on the field. It's off the field that's killing us," Thaj said.

The Cyclones are praying for a last-second hero.

Cyclones' Championship Travel Fund

(585) 254-7337

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