Former Blythewood Bengal and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Justin Bethel is giving back to Midlands high schools through competition.
Saturday was the second annual Beating All Odds Gridiron Classic. It's a 7 on 7 tournament where high school teams play for the grand prize of $5,000. Westwood, Blythewood, Richland Northeast, Irmo, Columbia, Spring Valley and Eau Claire were the seven teams in the tournament.
With former Cardinals defensive back Mike Adams and other players in attendance, Bethel thought it was important to point out that achieving your dream isn't far-fetched. He's done it and he's comes back Blythewood to share his inspirational story.
"I went to Presbyterian College which is a very small school, but I worked harder than everybody and I put in the work so that I could be the best, and I think as long as you can keep that mindset of, hey I'm going to go out there and do my best and be the best that I can be, whether it's school, academics, athletics, whatever, if you take that mindset, you can do whatever.
Being available to kids during the summer as a professional athlete from the area is also particularly important to Bethel.
"I think it helps to show them you know, if he can make it from here and if I put in the same work, work ethic and all those things that he did, if I can just do that, you know I got a chance to reach my goals and do things that I want to do in life too. I think that's kind of one the things I want to do. I want to show kids that's like, regardless of where you come from."
At the end of the tournament the Blythewood Bengals, under new head coach Brian Smith, defeated Irmo to win the championship.