Commentary | Postseason form taking shape for Pop Warner clubs

Pop Warner football teams from the area continued to march toward postseason youth football with several victories against fellow Foundation for Youth Development clubs.

The North Manatee Storm peeled off four victories over the South Tampa Titans.

In the Mitey Mite division, the Storm rolled to a 21-0 shutout behind Demarius Smith, Tommy Mercado and Kobe Murrell's three touchdowns. Smith and Mercado joined T.J. Thomas with extra-point runs, while the final tally was set up by Luke Arthur's catch-and-run inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter.

Dalton Ausborn, Dominic Cardillo, Carter Dietz, Jayden Dunbar, Rudy Garcia, Maisen Kerwin, Jake Samuels, Carl Shannon and Jadon Shetler were credited with opening the running holes.

The Pee Wees also generated a shutout, blanking the Titans 29-0 as Stanley Collins (passing touchdown) and the rushing duo of Robert Gavin Jr. and Duane Fobbs (three total touchdowns combined) paced the club. Zorian Geathers had two receptions and Josh Simplin was on the receiving end of Collins' passing score. Xavier Washington, Rohan Smith and Isaiah Petitfrere led the defense.

The Junior Midgets ran roughshod over the Titans, 38-6, to remain unbeaten. Logan Pizano connected with Tanner Kerwin for a touchdown pass, while Alejandro Mont and Ryan Petitfrere tallied two rushing touchdowns apiece. Kavion Williams recorded an interception on defense.

The East Manatee Bulldogs swept the Valrico Rams on Saturday across five games. The Bulldogs traveled north and earned comfortable victories in each contest.

The Tiny Mite division score was unknown, but Bulldogs quarterback Lucas Despot's two touchdowns and more than 150 rushing yards led the charge behind the offensive line work of Dean Carothers, Dominic Cooper and Landon Keral. The defense received gems

from Akeyhleon Wilson and Christopher Beasley, while Patrick Dawes and Jacoby Thomas produced big runs on offense.

The Pee Wees collected a 23-12 victory to remain atop their division. Markel McWhite's two touchdown runs and Caden Chamberlin's two interceptions, with one returned for a score, led the way. Patrick O'Keefe's fumble recovery late in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Bulldogs.

The Junior Midget outfit bested the Rams 22-6 behind Austin Caudill's 15 tackles and Anthony Marino's two interceptions. Colin Apgar had a 40-yard touchdown pass, too.

The Mitey Mite (42-24 win), Junior Pee Wee (31-0 win) and Unlimited (26-8 win) division teams also earned wins Saturday.

The Unlimited division club became 3-0 in the division with the triumph.

Other teams in action were the Palmetto Trojans, Manatee Mustangs and Manatee Wildcats. The Trojans won their Junior Midget game against the South Pasco Predators 20-6, but lost the Mitey Mite (26-6), Junior Pee Wee (13-6) and Pee Wee (14-13) division games.

The Mustangs peeled off victories against the Pinellas Park Rebels in the Junior Pee Wee (41-0), Pee Wee (26-0), Junior Midget (forfeit) divisions, while losing the Unlimited division game 24-16.

And the Wildcats secured victories in the Mitey Mite (52-6), Junior Pee Wee (19-13) and Pee Wee (39-0) divisions against the New Tampa Tigers. They lost the Junior Midget (46-0) and Unlimited (37-26) division games.


Manatee County Youth Rowing won 11 medals at the seven-team Gator Head Regatta in Gainesville earlier this month.

Gold medal winners included the girls youth single (Manatee's Alexi Earhart), boys youth double (Manatee's Alex Martinez and Tristan Hall) and girls youth double (Palmetto's Colleen Monaghan and Luci Derrick).


Cameron Gonzalez, a sixth-grader at Sugg Middle, recently participated in the Blitz Martial Arts State Championship in Orlando for the 10-11 year old advanced division. Gonzalez, a brown belt in Japanese Goju Ryu Karate, was the overall points leader and state champ in both traditional weapons and traditional forms following a second place finish in each division in Orlando.

Gonzalez also finished the year in second place overall in the point fighting division. The event was the conclusion to the seven-tournament Blitz tour.

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