Valley youth football team needs $25K for national championships

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The San Tan Valor football team has won a spot in the National American Youth Football League Championships in Florida, but now they are just trying to raise enough money to go.

Coach Eric Brasch said, “It's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking because there's plenty of teams that can afford to go but don't have near the character that this team does."

The 14 and under AYF team has a lot of underprivileged kids. They won the state championship 45-0.

Wide receiver and quarterback Dajon Walker says winning the game was awesome: “It feels really amazing because I never got to do anything like this before."

But like many of his teammates, Walker's family doesn't have the money to send him to the national championships.

When the eighth-grader realized that, he said, “I was kind of scared because I figured I wasn't going to be able to go and play with the team in Florida.”

But the coaches are showing these players how to take football off the field and tackle their financial troubles with an offensive plan: get out there and raise the money.

"It really is a heartwarming thing," Brasch said. "They have come together so well as a team and as a brotherhood and as a family. It pulls at your heart because they are growing into such good young men.”

They need $1,000 per player, $25,000 for the whole team, and they are making headway. At a corn hole tournament at the Native Grill and Wings in Chandler, a donor dropped off a $5,000 check after seeing the team's story on 3TV.

That gives Walker, whose mom doesn't even have a car to get him to practice, new motivation.

"It means the world because I have people that care about me," he said.

Asked what he will do if he gets himself to Florida he said simply, “Win a national championship."

The game is on Dec. 7.