Championship-winning youth football team celebrates with trip to Washington D.C.

CHARLOTTE — A local youth football team rallied to bring home a championship trophy in honor of a young athlete gone too soon.

Now, the team is asking for support.

The Derita Warriors took home the Pop Warner championship trophy last year. Donnell Gardner coaches the team, which he started under his nonprofit Team Trublue. As the team celebrates the win, he’s thinking of one young athlete he coached and mentored who wasn’t there for the victory.

“Johnny was murdered to gun violence. That really hit hard, so what we did was, we dedicated our season for Johnny Morales,” he said.

“So being able to dedicate the season to him and see it come to pass -- it fulfilled the wounds that I had,” he added.

Back in March, Channel 9 told you about Coach Gardner’s goal to take the team to the African American Museum in Washington D.C. Thanks to generous donations to their gofundme page, the team was able to celebrate by taking their D.C. trip.

“We believe in each one, teach one, and that’s what it’s about,” Gardner said.

>> In the video at the top of the page, Channel 9’s Almiya White learned more about the celebration trip and the meaning behind it -- which has nothing to do with football.

(WATCH BELOW: CMS girls flag football league begins 2nd season)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV