The road ended for some Pop Warner football teams, while some still are alive in the postseason.
Both the Division I and Division II playoffs were in action Saturday at various venues for the Foundation for Youth Development Conference.
The D-II finals took place at Tampa Bay Technical High School. Two local teams, the Manatee Wildcats and East Manatee Bulldogs, hit the field in the finals of the midget and junior midget divisions, respectively.
The Wildcats’ midget team fell 35-0 to the Pinellas Park Rebels. In the junior midget contest, the Bulldogs also were shut out. The South Pasco Predators earned the 37-0 victory.
However, in the D-I semifinals at J.C. Turner Fields in St. Petersburg, the Manatee Mustangs sent three of their four teams through to the finals slated for this Saturday at the Mustangs’ field.
The Mustangs won in the junior pee wee, pee wee and junior midget divisions while dropping the midget game 15-14 to the Carrollwood Hurricanes.
In the junior pee wee matchup, the Mustangs crushed the North East Tampa Pirates 34-0.
The Mustangs also downed the South Shore Longhorns 12-0 and the host St. Petersburg Silver Raiders 28-0 in the pee wee and junior midget divisions, respectively.
The Mustangs square off against the Hurricanes (junior pee wee), Silver Raiders (pee wee) and Longhorns (junior midget) with a shot at winning the conference title.
Last Saturday also witnessed the Don Clark Memorial Bowl games at various sites.
The East Manatee Bulldogs blanked the New Tampa Wildcats 18-0 in a pee wee division game at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex. Jernard Porter had two touchdowns -- one rushing and one receiving. Cody Staton tossed the TD pass to Porter. Noah Benghuzzi also ran in a score. Chase Tench (interception) anchored a defense pitching its sixth shutout this season along with getting multiple sack efforts from Cole Haddad and tackles by Matthew Strauss.
The Bulldogs’ junior pee wee team ran off a 27-18 over the West Pasco Prowlers to claim their bowl victory.
Other Don Clark Bowl winners included: North Manatee Storm (Mighty Mites; 6-2 over Longhorns) and the Manatee Wildcats (Pee Wee; 22-18 over Hurricanes).
There’s plenty of opportunity to hit the cross-country circuit in the upcoming weeks, without having to leave Manatee County.
In less than two weeks, the 13th annual Harvest Hustle is scheduled out east. The 5K races is part of the On A Shoestring/Bradenton Runners Club Series and is in partnership with the Lakewood Ranch Running Club.
The event begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Harvest United Methodist Church located at 14305 Convenant Way. A packet pickup is slated for Nov. 16-17 between 2-7 p.m. at the Fit2Run University Center. Awards, music and food are part of the post-race amenities.
Contact the Harvest United Methodist Church or visit http://www.harvesthustle5k.com for more information.
But before that race kicks off, this Saturday is the date for the MTI Law Academy 5K Veterans Day Challenge & 1 Mile Walk. The race is conducted at the Manatee Technical Institute at 5540 Lakewood Ranch Blvd and begins at 7:30 a.m. For more information, contact MTI.
Golden Manatees stumble
The Manatee County Hockey Club’s Golden Manatees saw the return of leading goal scorer Paul Lochner after he missed the previous week’s game.
And despite Lochner returning to form with a first-period goal, the Golden Manatees lost for the second consecutive week.
Wiregrass beat Manatee 6-5 at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex on Friday.
Lochner found the net four times, including the game-tying goal late in the third period.
However, Wiregrass’ Nicholas Bordwine scored less than a minute later to wrap up the one-goal victory.
Chase Bafia also scored for the Golden Manatees, who are now 3-2-0 and sit in the middle of the Lightning Conference’s Central Division standings on six points. Manatee is two points behind Plant and Freedom for first place in the division.
Philip Atkinson, Alexander Grodoski and Zachary McCoy were credited with assists.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.