The Federal Way Hawks earned more than a regional championship title after a hard-fought victory against the Bonney Lake Raptors late last month.
Federal Way Hawks 10U team became the Northwest Regional Champions after the Bethel Braves forfeited at halftime when the scoreboard read 19-0 last Friday night, followed by Federal Way’s 21-12 win over Bonney Lake on Nov. 22.
“The kids were ecstatic,” said head coach and Federal Way Hawks athletics director Shaun Miller. “We had kids rolling on the ground, doing turf angels … they were overjoyed.”
Miles Fuavai, running back and safety for the Hawks, threw a touchdown to cap off the victory, Miller said.
“Nobody gets past Miles,” he added.
Athletes Nehemiah Rivero along with Dre’Shawn Reddix and Daesean Toomer did a tremendous job on the field, Miller said. Kaleb Whiteside was also an instrumental player with lead blocking and good first down runs throughout the game.
“We put all new guys up on the line except for one or two because we saw that these Raptors were getting tired,” Miller explained. “I knew if I put fresh feet out there, we’d gain some ground.”
Along with their team trophy and individual medals, six players received tickets to exclusive workouts with former NFL players next weekend.
And where will these workouts take place? In Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championships Dec. 6-15.
While the Hawks punched their ticket to victory, the team is still working to raise funds for tickets to get all 23 players across the country.
So far, the Hawks have raised nearly $2,000 toward their $25,000 Hall of Fame goal through their GoFundMe page. Parents of the team have been calling friends and family for donations and team members spent Friday morning at the corner of Pacific Highway South and South 320th Street collecting donations to “Fill the Helmet.”
“… It is a big financial strain, especially around Christmastime,” Miller said. “But I’ve said from the beginning either we all go or none of us go because we’re a team.”
This is the first time in Federal Way Hawks history that a team has advanced to the Youth Football World Championships.
“It’s important to me they can get this opportunity. We’re super excited and these kids are very special to me,” Miller said. “These kids work so hard, they put in a ton of effort.”
Amid the negativity surrounding Federal Way with recent repeat robberies and crime, Miller said he hopes the Hawks success will redefine Federal Way’s connotation.
“Let’s show that there’s something positive here,” Miller explained. “I want to get people’s minds off that for a minute and take a look at what good we have here and … [see] why we want this city to be a safe and fun place.”
“I am trying to build a culture where it’s about relationships more than championships,” Miller said.
If you win a championship with this mentality, it means more in the long run.
This season has been one of the best for the Hawks when it comes to supportive parents — parents who aren’t just chasing championships, he said.
“You get a lot of parents that only want wins for their kids even if that means switching teams every year [or] taking other kids from that program, then that is what they will do,” he said.
Miller hopes to change the trend of ego-driven parents and coaches and create a legacy built on love for the game and support for the players.
The 10U Hawks team is a melting pot, Miller said, which the greater community could learn a lesson about humanity from.
“There’s nothing better than kids. They’re born innocent,” Miller said. “We’ve got a diverse team of kids … and hopefully these kids working together, showing that they can get along, it can help show there’s no need for this hatred and violence.”
The team will be honored at the Federal Way City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3.
To make a donation and support the Federal Way Hawks’ trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Youth World Championships, visit the team’s GoFundMe page.