Colts, community step up for youth football team

The Northwest Youth Football all-star team practiced at the Colts complex Monday.
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Dozens of kids who play football are now getting the chance of a lifetime.

The Colts and community stepped up to support the players in the Northwest Youth Football League after Eyewitness News aired a story last week about their team's need for money to get to a football tournament in Kentucky.

For the football players, life, like practice, is sometimes just about grinding it out despite the obstacles they see everyday.

"Your gangs, your drug dealers, all of it," said Coach Derek Lewis about what some of his players witness in their neighborhoods.

Monday was a break from such harsh realities, though, and a chance to dream.

"We're going over with the Colts today, fellas and we going over to practice on their field. So y'all ready for that?" Lewis asked his team.

"Yes Coach!," they all yelled in unison.

"This is the field of dreams right here for us," said Lewis as he led his kids out onto the Colts' practice field.

The Colts invited the team to practice right where they do for one of the biggest games of their young lives, the King of the Hill Classic, being held this weekend in Owensboro, Kentucky.

"I'm just a kid having dreams about playing football," said Isaiah Howell about the opportunity to play in the tournament.

That dream was in jeopardy for Harwell and his teammates, because most players didn't have the money to go to the tournament.

The team tried to raise it with concession sales at their games, but Lewis said someone kept robbing the stand of food and equipment. The money the team raised ended up going towards repairs and replacing stolen equipment.

"Money's tight and jobs are very scarce and far between," said parent Norine Howell.

Last week, though, the Colts and community stepped up with more than $3,000 to get the kids to their game.

"If our community had our back for this, we're going to have the community's back. So we have to go down and we have to win one for our community," said Lewis.

"It was the best thing that I ever experienced in my life," said Isaiah Howell of the opportunity to get ready for the tournament on the Colts' practice field.

"A lot of them will tell you, 'I wanna play here. I wanna be on this field'," said Coach Lewis.

It could very well happen if grown-ups keep investing in these kids.

"If I can reach out and get five, six, seven to college, I can rest good," Lewis added.