The Manatee Mustangs continued to dominate in the Foundation for Youth Development conference in Pop Warner football.
The organization hosted its Homecoming Week on Saturday against the St. Petersburg Gibbs Junior Gladiators.
The Mustangs improved to 7-0 in three divisions, including the Junior Pee Wee division when the Gladiators were forced to forfeit due to not meeting the minimum number of players required to begin the game.
The Junior Midget division saw the Mustangs drop the Gladiators 40-14, and the Midget division club also remained unbeaten after a 38-0 thrashing.
After losing for the first time a couple weeks ago, the Mustangs’ Pee Wee team has outscored the competition 44-0 in two consecutive victories to up its record to 6-1. Jamal Owens, Devin Twenty and Sir Williams turned in offensive gems for the Mustangs, who defeated the Gladiators 26-0. Tyler Stevens snagged two interceptions and started the second half with a 60-yard kickoff return to lead the Mustangs’ defense and special teams.
However, it wasn’t a clean sweep as the Mighty Mite team lost for the first time this season, dropping a 21-13 decision to fall to 5-1-1.
Next up for the Mustangs is a matchup with the Fishhawk Wolfpack at the Fishhawk Sports Complex in Lithia.
Meanwhile, the East Manatee Bulldogs also enjoyed success this past week against the Hardee Wildcats.
The Junior Midgets ran roughshod over the Wildcats, 46-0, as quarterback Nate Strawderman amassed 250 passing yards and three touchdowns for the second consecutive week.
This time, Strawderman had to battle some heavy winds and connected with Kyle Thoma for two scores. Thoma tallied 100 receiving yards. Joining him on the score sheet with first-time TDs were receiver Hunter Jernigan, Dakota Wall and Isaiah Joseph.
The Tiny Mite division doesn’t keep score, but the club received a reverse-field TD from Luke Labriola as well as a strong defensive effort from the D-Line of Zack Richter, Willie Miller, Jack Muller, Brock McCue and Jared Henderson.
The Bulldogs also won the Junior Pee Wee (26-7) and Pee Wee (20-0) divisions, while losing the Mighty Mite (7-0) and Midget (19-7) divisions.
The inaugural Strider World Championships are scheduled for the nearby Sarasota County BMX track in North Sarasota on Friday and Saturday.
There is no admission or parking fees for the event, which is for racers 2-5 years old from North America, Europe, Asia and South America.
Vendor fee proceeds will benefit Suncoast Charities for Children, which helps local children with special needs.
“The Sarasota BMX track has been here since 1974 and is one of the oldest and most popular destinations for the sport,” said John McCarthy, Sarasota County Community Services interim executive director in a press release. “BMX is now an Olympic sport, and Strider racing allows kids as young as 2 years old to begin their pursuit of Olympic gold.”
There are several other events in addition to the world championship races, including free Strider test rides all weekend; free Strider loaner racing bikes (all toddlers who attend Friday night qualify to race); Strider riding clinic with BMX Hall of Fame racers Greg Hill and John Purse; toddler best trick contest; adult Strider bike races; 2011 Florida and National Champion super boat “Team Velocity” is on display with super boat “Joyland” with team members signing autographs from noon-1:30 p.m. on Saturday; face painting and balloon sculptures; and food stations featuring healthy snacks for kids and a children’s obstacle course by “I Train Your Kids.”
For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit www.striderlife.com/worldchampionship.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.