Commentary | Manatee County Pop Warner youth football teams flourish during Week 5

September 25, 2012 

The East Manatee Bulldogs received three victories over the Palmetto Trojans last Saturday. In the Mitey Mite division, the Bulldogs clinched their division with a 13-0 whitewash of Palmetto.

Ethan Bement tallied two touchdowns, while Carson Goda, Justin Shofter and Patrick O'Keefe limited Palmetto's offense to 50 yards. Luke Labriola recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter to wrap up the victory.

In the Pee Wee division, the Bulldogs edged the Trojans 9-6 in a defensive-oriented contest. The Bulldogs received a 28-yard field goal from Mason Fischer and a 2-yard touchdown from fullback Caleb Whitson.

"We were facing a fourth-and-5, and I felt like this was going to be a game dominated by defense, so I took the points," said East Manatee coach Bill Jula in a news release about the decision to boot a field goal in the first half. "It was an easy call to make knowing I have a kid who can make that kick."

Palmetto took a 6-3 lead on a 10-yard TD, but the extra point attempt was blocked early in the third quarter.

East Manatee defensive tackle Drake Theriot recovered a fumble to preserve victory for the Bulldogs (3-2).

Meanwhile, the Tiny

Mite squad blanked Palmetto 24-0, receiving a gem from Vincent Hutchinson, Elijah Kelly, Aaron Martin, Josiah Minton, Jack Muller and Jake Wyatt on defense.

Quarterback Grant Stetson combined with running backs Willie Miller, Taivon Derisma and Issac Ashley to four scores.

Meanwhile, the North Manatee Storm earned a couple wins and lost three times on Saturday against two different opponents.

Jaydon Dunbar had a 60-yard rushing TD, and Tommy Mercado added a 6-yard TD in a 21-14 loss in the Tiny Mite division to Hardee Wildcats.

The Mitey Mites fell 6-0 to the Wildcats.

The Junior Pee Wees lost a 13-12 overtime heartbreaker to Hardee.

And in the Pee Wee matchup, the Storm clinched a playoff berth over Hardee in a 1- blowout at Buffalo Creek Park. Mateus Urbanski, Joshua Rupert, Jackson Dietz, Donovan Ausborn, Jackson Sauerbeck, Dominic McNeil, Jose Zuniga, Karsen Heidenreich and Ryan Erhardt produced seven touchdowns on offense. The defense was led by Jett Gillum, Jared Richardson, Jakir Fordham and Gage Clarke and improved the club's record to 5-0 this season.

The Midgets also won in a 39-0 rout over the South Shore Longhorns.

Also in action were the Manatee Mustangs and Manatee Wildcats.

The Mustangs were particularly dominant in blowout victories in every age division. The Mitey Mites (26-6 over the Gibbs Gladiators), Junior Pee Wees (30-0 over the Gladiators), Pee Wees (40-6 over the New Tampa Tigers), Junior Midgets (39-0 over Gladiators) and Midgets (30-0 over Gladiators) crushed the opposition at the home last Saturday.

The Wildcats hosted three teams at G.T. Bray park. They earned victories in each division: Mitey Mites (39-23 over the Northeast Tampa Pirates), Midgets (37-6 over the Pirates), Junior Midgets (14-8 over the Palm Harbor Panthers) and the Junior Pee Wees (18-12 over Englewood in double overtime).

Sarasota iced in opener

The Sarasota County Rampage, the lone high school hockey team in the area competing in the Lightning Conference this season, began its season last Friday night in Brandon.

The Rampage fell 6-0 to Palm Harbor, with four goals conceded in the second period after a scoreless opening frame. Sarasota opens its home schedule on Friday at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex.

Manatee County Hockey Club's Golden Manatees, which had dominated the conference in recent years, did not field a team for the 2012-13 season.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill

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