It's playoff time for area Pop Warner youth football programs. This past Saturday, local teams squared off on the gridiron to battle for division crowns in the Foundation for Youth Development League.
The East Manatee Bulldogs won the Unlimited Division III title with a 31-13 victory over the North Manatee Storm at Lakewood Ranch Park.
The Storm led 13-7 at halftime, but the Bulldogs scored a flurry of points in the fourth quarter to claim the victory. Touchdowns came from Cameron White (two), Drew Mitts, Jake Hepler and Brandon Dossey. It was the first divisional title for the Bulldogs since 2008.
In the Division II playoffs, the Manatee Wildcats won the Unlimited divisional championship game 22-12 over the New Tampa Tigers at Fishhawk Sports Complex.
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The Wildcats were eliminated in the Junior Pee Wee semifinals when the host Wolfpack peeled off a 28-12 victory.
At G.T. Bray park, the Wildcats also succumbed to defeat in the Pee Wee semifinals, falling to the St. Petersburg Silver Raiders 44-19.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs finished their regular season at Lakewood Ranch Park due to inclement weather earlier in the year against the Tampa PAL Patriots.
The Bulldogs won all
their games against the Patriots.
In the Pee Wees, the Bulldogs secured a 25-6 win to end the season with the No. 1 playoff seed off their 5-0 divisional record. Robby Goecker and Markel McWhite each had two touchdowns, while the defense punished the Patriots by allowing one first down in the second half.
The Junior Midgets earned a 30-6 win behind Colin Agpar's two-touchdown day.
Other victories included the Mitey Mites (26-6) and Junior Pee Wees (25-13).
The Division I semifinals begin this weekend at Mustang Field as the Manatee Mustangs compete in the Junior Pee Wees, Pee Wees, Junior Midgets and Unlimited divisions.
The Wildcats, Bulldogs, Storm and Palmetto Trojans are also competing in various playoff games.
Record number of runners
The 11th annual Boo Run in Lakewood Ranch this past weekend was also its most successful turnout.
The race, which benefits Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy to find a cure for duchennes, took place Saturday with close to 900 registered runners.
The 5K event witnessed Bradenton's Michael Lamb claim the male title with a course record time of 16 minutes, 53 seconds.
His time was more than a minute better than the next fastest runner.
Fort Myers' Caroline Mackenzie, who is 13 years old, ran the course in 20:02 to edge Bradenton's Emily Egan by 13 seconds for the female title.
Other age group winners included: Venice's Michael Giampino (Male Masters, 19:11), Bradenton's Bethany Heslam (Female Masters, 21:50), Ponte Vedra's Stephan Curren (Male Grand Masters, 19:23), Lakewood Ranch's Jodi Mailman (Female Grand Masters, 22:35), Bradenton's Ray Weitzel (Male Senior Grand Masters, 23:28) and Sarasota's Donna Loud (Female Senior Grand Masters, 30:37).
Budding tennis star
Bradenton's Whitney Osuigwe won the girls 14s title at the inaugural USTA National Masters Championship, an all-inclusive clay court tennis tournament, held in Boca Raton on Sunday.
Osuigwe, an unseeded player, bested No. 2-seeded Sydney Jones, of Carrollton, 7-6 (9), 6-3 in the championship.
The event featured three age groups for boys and girls.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.