Youth football team wins national championship

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how the Odell Eagles Cadet Green team had just won the regional and the state American Youth Football Championships and that they were are on their way to the National Championships in Florida, which is kind of like their very own Super Bowl.

This week, I want to follow up on that story to let you all know the good news. The Odell Eagles won and are now the 2011 Cadet D2 National Champions.

Eagles Head Coach Kenneth Padgett explained that this team had their eye on this championship from the very beginning. "Florida was goal set at the first of the year, and the boys worked their rears off to get there. A lot of them were nervous and excited for the chance to play for a national title," he said.

These 24 dedicated boys and their coaches spent seven days in Florida and played three very successful games. One team they played against was from California, and other two teams were from Texas. "The final game started great. We ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. The rest of the first half was back and forth with neither team scoring," said Padgett.

"We scored again in the third quarter to go up 13-0. Our defense played outstanding in holding the other team scoreless. It was a great back and forth game with our kids playing together and playing a complete game."

When Padgett was in high school, he played soccer and track and ran cross country, but he never played any organized football, let alone coach it. His son, Trevor, who is now 11, has been playing the sport since he was 6.

Padgett started as assistant coach in 2008, "and there was a huge learning process for me," he said. "But I was amazed at the dedication and sense of teamwork it took to play the game," he said. "After the first season, Trevor and I were hooked on the game of football, and I started head coaching in 2010."

Padgett coaches Trevor's team because he feels that it is important to take an active role in his son's life. "So many parents just drop their kids off and leave. I also try to instill good Christian values and good sportsmanship in the kids. Our team has been together for about three seasons. These kids are great and get along great together," he said.

"The parents are unbelievable as far as doing all the little things that help me and my wife, Joellyn, off the field. The kids have developed a great friendship with each other that I hope will last for years to come."

Odell Recreation Sports is the largest youth recreation organization in Cabarrus County and is always looking for dedicated coaches like Padgett, as well as other volunteers. For information, go to