Odell Eagles are going to Disney for a national title

Many kids make the long drive to Florida to visit Walt Disney World or Universal Studios in Orlando.

But 24 local boys are feverishly saving all their money to go to Orlando to play a football game. That's because their team, the elementary-age Odell Eagles, just won both the regional and state American Youth Football Championships.

Now they are on their way to the national championships, which is kind of like their very own Super Bowl.

One of the players, Joey Guarino, a fourth-grader at Odell Elementary School, has been playing football for three seasons. He plays outside linebacker.

"I love that he is so committed," said his mom, Lisa Guarino. "He knows that if he doesn't get his homework done, he doesn't go to practice. We never have to prod him along to get his work done after school.

"He will continue as long as he wants to and as long as he enjoys it," she said. "It's such great exercise and a perfect way to release his energy from a day at his desk at school."

This is Odell's first state championship and the end of a very successful season, with six wins and three losses.

I have to give a special shout-out to the guys who made it all possible: Head coach Kenneth Padgett, defensive coach Clay Bradford and assistant coaches Mike Fitzgerald, Mike Walker and Darryl Graves.

Joey Guarino plans on continuing his football career in the future.

"Football is the only sport I like, because you get to run around a lot," he said. "I am very excited about going to play in the national championships."

Now these five coaches and 24 players are raising money so they can get to their "Super Bowl" next month. They need your help.

"If you would be willing to make a small donation to our team, it would be most appreciated," Lisa Guarino said. "Hotels and transportation alone will cost our team close to $10,000. Each donation, no matter how small or large, can really add up."

The championship game is Dec. 3. Make donations payable to Odell Recreation Association and mail them to 3031 Barr Road, Concord NC 28027.

Odell Recreation Sports is the largest youth recreation organization in Cabarrus County. For more information go to

Best of luck to the Odell Eagles!