Nathan Padgett did not want all the glory to himself.
Besides, there is plenty to go around now that a new era of Owen football has a victory to call its own.
Sidney Gibbs carried the ball 24 times for 293 yards and three touchdowns Friday as the Warhorses gave their rookie head coach his first win — 49-6 at Avery County.
Padgett is a 1994 Owen graduate who was hired in April to replace the winningest coach in school history (Kenny Ford, 230 career victories).
“I’m very proud of these kids,” Padgett said.
“This is really special with it being my first win as their head coach, but it’s not about me. It’s about our players, our community and our coaching staff. It takes a total team effort and I’m so thankful and blessed to be around so many great people.”
The Warhorses’ shining moment came on the heels of an intense week of practice, Padgett said. The coach even used the motivational tactic of removing the team’s iconic horseshoe stickers from their helmets.
Kendrick Weaver’s 80-yard return of the opening kickoff led to a 7-0 lead. After Avery County (1-5, 0-1) answered with a touchdown, Owen (1-4, 1-0) reeled off 42 unanswered points in the Western Highlands Conference opener for both teams.
The Warhorses won the WHC championship in Ford’s final season.
Gibb’s touchdown runs were for 10, 35 and 60 yards. Weaver also caught an 8-yard touchdown from DeMarcus Harper with just five seconds left before halftime. Harper later scored on a 26-yard quarterback keeper.
Finally, Elijah Ammons ran for a 15-yard touchdown with 4:37 to go in the ballgame.
Owen is back home next week to play undefeated Mitchell (5-0). Padgett said he will let the players decide whether they want their stickers back or not.
“Whatever works, we might not want to mess with the mojo,” he said jokingly.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for now, but I know we’ve got a tough opponent up next in Mitchell.”