Commentary | Several Manatee County Pop Warner clubs off to fast starts

September 10, 2013 

Several local Pop Warner clubs off to fast starts

Youth football is back in a big way around Manatee County. At the Pop Warner level, several teams are off to a solid start to the 2013 regular season.

Competing in the Foundation for Youth Development organization, the Manatee Mustangs blasted the competition in several divisions for a second consecutive week. The Mustangs' Mighty Mite (2-0), Junior Pee Wee (1-0), Junior Midget (2-0), Midget (2-0) and Pee Wee (2-0) squads remained unbeaten.

The Pee Wee team defeated the New Tampa Tigers 30-0 at Tampa Freedom High on Saturday.

Byron Hough (two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown) joined Marc Davis, Robert McConico and Cobee Crawford with standout offensive games. Shemar Williams, Jaylin Register and Malcom Clermont led the defense's shutout.

The North Manatee Storm's Junior Midget team is also 2-0 after beating the Wauchula Hardee Wildcats 51-0 on Saturday.

Kory Waters, Johnny Jones, Jett Gillum and Danion Harker contributed rushing touchdowns, while Jared Richardson

found Rory Houston and Ademole Adeobe with touchdown passes. Houston added a 50-yard punt return for a score and Vaughn Hayes converted 4 of 5 extra points. Meanwhile, the Storm's defense, led by Gillum, Dajor Murrell, Gage Clarke, Ryan Overstreet, Harrison Fuller, Mateus Urbanski and Jackson Sauerbeck, limited Hardee's offense to minus-75 rushing yards and without any first downs.

Murrell (two TDs), Jones (TD), Houston (TD), Richardson (passing TD) and Waters (45-yard TD run behind Cedric Waters and Ryan Dunbar's blocking) led to the Storm's 38-6 pasting of the Tampa PAL Patriots in the first week.

The Storm's Mitey Mites played to a 21-21 draw Saturday after winning their opening week game. Demarius Smith (two 60-yard TDs) and Colton Davis (TD) provided the scores for the Storm.

The club's Junior Pee Wees rebounded from an opening week loss to defeat the Wildcats 14-6 on Saturday behind Novell Chestnut (two TDs) and Kobe Alvarez (two extra points) on offense, and Calvin Sauerbek, Eli Dralus and Tighe Basso's play on a defense that yielded only one first down in the second half.

Other area Pop Warner teams that are unbeaten include: Manatee Wildcats (Mighty Mites), Palmetto Trojans (Mighty Mites, Junior Pee Wees, Pee Wees) and East Manatee Bulldogs (Junior Pee Wees, Junior Midgets).

The Bulldogs' Junior Midgets scored a 25-6 victory in the first week over the Valrico Rams behind two fumble recoveries, more than 300 total yards of offense and four offensive touchdowns.

Last Saturday, they bested the Manatee Wildcats 39-26.

There are seven more weeks remaining in the regular season.

Softball star

Bayshore senior Kristin Staley's Labor Day weekend turned into a memorable one as the second baseman excelled at the Queen of Diamonds Individual softball showcase in Rock Hill, S.C.

Staley was one of 264 players among 1,500 applicants that were invited to participate.

After going 4-for-5 with two walks and four stolen bases, and turning two double plays alongside six put outs and eight assists against one error, Staley was chosen as one of 52 Most Valuable Players -- two MVPs are chosen after each game, and there were three games played by each team. Those 52 MVPs were then boiled down to 13 All-Tournament First-Team members and Staley was included on that list.

"I have been involved in Queen of Diamonds for four years, the first one I attended as I was injured was just a helper, then I competed in the North event at Kent State, won an MVP there," Staley said in a news release. "Last fall, I competed here in Rock Hill, got my second MVP, then this year I received my third MVP. However, being chosen to (the) first team was another goal I set, and now I have reached. Being selected from 1,500 applications, making the cut of 264, best talent around, getting named MVP, then picked to first team, wow, what a dream come true."

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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