Commentary | Manatee County Pop Warner teams win FYD Conference titles

November 6, 2012 

The North Manatee Storm's Pee Wee club didn't let history affect their performance on the football field.

Two weeks ago, the Storm claimed the program's first-ever Foundation for Youth Development Division II championship after defeating the Palm Harbor Panthers 30-8.

Rory Houston's 55-yard touchdown run, and Jared Richardson's TD run armed the Storm with an insurmountable 14-0 halftime cushion. Richardson hooked up with Houston for two TD passes, covering 76- and 10-yards, respectively.

The defense that produced two turnovers was led in tackling by Jett Gillum, Jakir Fordham, John Jones, Jackson Sauerbeck and Gage Clarke. The dominating offensive output received strong blocking from Mateus Urbanski, Joshua Rupert, Jackson Dietz, Donovan Ausborn and Sauerbeck.

That propelled the Storm into this past Saturday's first round of the D-II Southeast Regionals.

And they didn't disappoint area youth football fans with a 32-14 victory over the St. Cloud Bulldogs in Winter Springs.

Houston tallied three TDs in a variety of ways. First, he returned a 60-yard punt for a score.

Then, he hauled in a 45-yard TD pass from Richardson. And finally, he rumbled 55-yards to pay dirt.

Richardson tacked on 3-yard TD run, while Vaughn Hayes was a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs.

Dominic McNeil blocked an extra point, and had an interception. The victory kept the Storm unbeaten this season as they'll take their 11-0 record into the second round of the Southeast Regionals at the Merritt Island Mustangs.

The Manatee Wildcats Midget team advanced past the Umatilla Bulldogs 30-22 to round out the only FYD programs to win a first round D-II playoff game among the organization's four entries in the four age divisions.

Meanwhile, the Manatee Mustangs are continuing their strong all-around season in the Division-I playoffs.

The Mustangs sent four teams to FYD Conference Championship games, and ended up capturing three conference crowns.

The Junior Pee Wee team blanked the South Pasco Predators 30-0, the Pee Wee club beat the Predators 16-8 and the Midget division squad defeated the South Shore Longhorns 12-0 to account for the three titles.

The three teams are a combined 33-0 this season, and each take their perfect 11-0 marks into the first round of the D-I Southeast Regionals this Saturday at Hallandale High in Hallandale Beach.

The Junior Pee Wees face the Richmond Giants. The Pee Wee team battles the Liberty City Warriors and the Midgets square off against the Palmetto Raiders.

Each of the Mustangs opponents represent the Greater Miami Pop Warner Conference as its champions.

BEACH DAWGS win division

The Bradenton BEACH DAWGS 10-and-younger travel baseball team won the select division of the Nations Baseball Fall State Championship this past weekend.

Lucas Hartman tossed a complete game, with 10 strikeouts as the BEACH DAWGS won 8-5 in the semifinals.

Harry O'Dell produced a game-winning two-run double in the sixth inning to break a 6-6 deadlock.

O'Dell then followed his performance at the dish with an overwhelming effort on the mound in the championship game. He totaled 11 strikeouts in a complete game victory for the BEACH DAWGS, who won 4-2.

Hartman (6-for-10, four RBIs, two doubles, two stolen bases), O'Dell (double, three RBIs), Chris Perry (2-for-5, two RBIs, four stolen bases), Wyatt Sevin (2-for-5, double, second RBIs, three stolen bases), Logan O'Leary (two hits) and Daniel Fritz (four stolen bases, three runs) led the offense. The BEACH DAWGS improved to 10-12 on the year, and head to Orlando for a tournament this weekend.

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

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