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North East Ohio Silverbacks headed to playoffs

7/25/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

The North East Ohio Silverbacks play their home games at Copley High School.
Photo courtesy of Donna Foster
COPLEY — In only their first year of existence, the North East Ohio Silverbacks are headed to the playoffs.

The team, which plays its home games at Copley High School, finished its first-ever regular season in the Gridiron Development Football League with a 6-3 record.

“We definitely have a team full of talented young men,” said Akron resident Chris Foster, who co-owns the team with his wife, Donna Foster. “I’m excited about where we are as a first-year team, even making it as far as the playoffs. The reason we started the team was to help some young men make it to the next level, meaning college or arena football or even further, so for us to have a record like that, we’re excited.”

The Silverbacks lost the first game of the season 14-0, but have rebounded to win five of their last seven games. And in the playoffs, the Silverbacks will have the opportunity to get revenge for the two losses during that seven-game streak.

The playoffs will get under way Aug. 3 when the Silverbacks play the Electric City Chargers from Pennsylvania at Copley High School at 7:30 p.m. (the location is subject to change).

“We played them in the middle of the season, and they beat us 14-0,” Chris Foster said. “If we take out the Chargers in the first round, then in the second round we will face the team that beat us [July 20], the Columbus Gladiators. That game finished 18-15, and it was probably the best game we’ve been involved in. Both sides played hard, good football. We went into overtime and we just broke down. We’ll be looking for revenge, but it will be friendly revenge. Both teams will be going for the same goal.”

Now that the Silverbacks have achieved their No. 1 goal this season, Foster said, it’s time to set some new goals.

“We set the bar to make the playoffs. Now that we’ve done that, we’re going to try to go all the way to the championship in Florida,” he said “And that’s just to prove to these guys that they can do anything they want once they put their minds to it.”

The team has been gaining a small but loyal following after a slow start, Foster said.

“One of the things that we really didn’t push — and I’ve learned now that it’s the first thing we need to push next year — is advertising,” he stated. “It’s growing a little, and I think most of it’s been word of mouth so far.”

According to Foster, the North East Ohio Silverbacks function along the lines of most professional development football teams.

“Each team owner does it differently, but with this being our first year, the only thing that players paid was $135 for the season, and that paid for two jerseys and a pair of pants. They have their own equipment,” he noted. “We provide the field for them to play on and the bus for away games. And we feed them for every home game, too.”

Foster said he has learned some things this season that should make next season better.

“Next year, there will be more coaches and more staff in the front office to help out. And we want to try to keep reaching out to key players — the ones who really want to move to the next level,” he said. “This year, we had a bunch of guys who wanted to go to the next level, but we also have a number of guys who just wanted to play.”

For more information about the North East Ohio Silverbacks, including a team schedule and roster, go to www.neosilverbacks.com.

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