It is hard to imagine that the final home game of the 2012 season is upon us. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that the teams were preparing to start the year.
The youth football and cheerleading program has been an important part of the Bartow community for more than 50 years. Recently honored for its diversity, Bartow Youth Football (or BYF, as it is better known) has provided life learning lessons for a few generations and continues that today. Open to children aged 6-14, the BYF program has drawn upon volunteer support throughout the community to provide these opportunities to learn skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and commitment.
Today, the players will suit up for their last regular season home game at Tommy Walker Field at 555 Park. Cheerleaders will prepare to lead the home fans again in pushing their team to victory. Today’s match-ups against Sebring, which has gotten stronger through the consolidation of two programs, won’t be the last games, though. The Bartow Yellow Jackets will travel next week to DeSoto. The long road trip can sometimes thin the ranks, but many are looking forward to playing a team that hasn’t been an opponent for many years.
Bartow is part of the Mid Florida Football and Cheer Conference, which encompasses more than 50 organizations, many in Polk County. The five local teams play in the District 4 Sunshine division, which also includes the Lake Alfred Raiders, Lakeland Lumberjacks, Lakeland Saints, Mulberry Panthers, Polk County Titans and Winter Haven Wolverines.
A typical game day starts with the Flag football squad on the field at 9 a.m. These players are the youngest group (6 and under) and, as the name implies, there is no tackling and the field is much shorter. Following the flag game, the pads come out as the Mitey Mites, players aged 7-8, square off on the regulation field. The oldest group (seniors –age 13-14) have the middle game for the day. They are followed by the Pee Wees, which are 9-10 year old players. The final game of the day is played by the Juniors, which is the 11-12 year olds. Each team has their own cheer squad, which is working the fans to a frenzy on the sidelines. At halftime, the cheer squads cross the field to perform for the visiting crowd with the visiting cheerleaders doing the same for the home crowd.
Cost of admission to today’s games is $3 for aged 15 – adult with children aged 4-14 $2. Children younger than 4 are free.
Organizers are pleased with the number of players and cheerleaders who have signed up for the 2012 program, a good indication that the activity is getting stronger. Complete information about Bartow Youth Football and Cheer programs can be found at www.bartowyouthfootball.com.
Flag (football) – Jeremiah Martin, Brice Chaney, Anthony Munoz, Xander Stricklin, Landon Pope, Payton Slater, Jaydon Williams, DeAndrew Smith, Ja’von Myrick, Darrell Galva, Lavonski Tubbs, Jordan Schley, Ethan Greene, Willis Alston Jr., Ledarian Rollins, Carl Thomas. Coaches are James Stricklin, Ashley Stricklin, Amador Munoz and Dale Slater.
Flag (cheer) – Ashlynn Cade, Erica Munoz, Briana Owusu, Shawntavia Scott, Adrienne Thomas, Kayla Thomas, Lyric Thompson, Alyssa Valdez, Alexis Vargas, Alicia Vargas. Mascots are Annalisa Vargas and Makiyah Johnson, Coaches are Lisa Sharp, Diana Munoz and Myra Valdez.
Mitey Mite (football) – Jhmari Martin, Shelvin Douglas, Jayden Galva, TyShawn Smith, Shakeem Edwards, Scott Northern, Kiendre Ford, Ayden Johnson, Purvis Adamson, Darrien Thomas, Jacari Mann, Sacarr Bowers, MarQuise Atwater, Bill Lawery, Jakari Lowery, Shamarion Edwards, TreQuan Jones, Devin Vass, Liam Elliott, Jaxon Dreyer, Sha’Mario Edwards, Laquan Coby, Jayden Williams, Carlos King, Kadafi Barber, Christian Breton. Coaches are Michael Johnson, Derrick Johnson, Kelly West, Will Thomas and Paul Roberts.
Mitey Mite (cheer) – Markeisha Atwater, Jada Bickers, Destiny Breton, Maya Clayton, Brianna Elliott, Paradise Elliott, Ariana Lewin, Jazmyn McWhorter, JaShayla Narcisse, Sage Northern, Beniyah Smith, Nakayla Williams. Coaches are Audra Elliott, Marquita Williams and Lakwanda McWhorter.
Pee Wee (football) – Keyon Torres, Benjamin Smith Jr., Denzill Alleyne, Savion Hill, Raiden Cox, Amarion Baker, Martin Johnson, Jacroy Waddle Jr., Cameron Cobb, Demius Webster, Daithan Davis, Chadarius McClain, Malik Smith, Zalen Clayton, Jakob Elliott, Khaleb Whitaker, Derrick Robinson, Andy Garcia, Elijah Garcia, TyDarion Thompson, Lennell Rollins Jr., Damian Vass, Christopher Merricks, Lathan Stricklin, Malik Eason, Austin Breeden, Ryan Dankosky, Christopher Wilson. Coaches are Marty Johnson, Daron McCullough, Melvin Jenkins, Brandon Owusu, Russ Dankosky, Kyle Joiner and Charles Clayton.
Pee Wee (cheer) – Jada Bethea, A’Nya Clayton, Calissa Grissette, Nikhya McClain, Lyasia McCloud, Emily McQuaig, Jamari Pinkney, Cameron Rowe, Omarrea Sanders, Tia Sanders, Mekia Scott, Sayler Sharp, Keziah Smith, Magarita Sobrevilla. Coaches are Tonya Clayton, Tanisha Clayton and Michelle Lee.
Juniors (football) – Robert Walker, Kiondre Ford, Terel Bowman, Jekeemian Pinkney, Chrishawn Butler, Boone Robinson, Jerquan Fagan, Davin Williams, Albert Thomas, Corey Rowe, Napolean Clark, Zaire Clayton, Sergio Hernandez, Dequarius Cooper, Philip Sloan Jr., Markion Douglas, Thaterick Johnson, Avonti Johnson, Wyatt Locklear, Jerin Jennings, Joshua Williams, Trevon Weston, Gauge Stricklin, Khedgen Willis, Eduardo Rivera Jr., Zach Martin, Christopher Brown, James Long Jr., James Spencer Jr. Coaches are Benjamin Smith, Eugene Carter, Cody Breton and Jerome McWhorter.
Juniors (cheer) – Aaliyah Adams, KeyShayvionne Burgess, D’Leja Davis, Kaylee Elliott, Martes Johnson, Timara Jordan, Jemera McKinney, Hailey McQuaig, Megan Meeks, Turiana Riley, Diamond Sanders, Tamara Sanders. Coaches are Jasmine Walker, Tesia Biggs-Johnson and Andrew McDonald.
Seniors (football) – Jaquez Skanes, Javonta Cooper, Julius Mason, Azinde Wiggins, Malik Wiggins, Bryce Myrick, Timmy Jordan, Allen Vaughn, Chris Jones, Chris Butler, D’Ante Jones, Javarius King, Isaiah Ingram, Trey Hobby, Cardaddy Williams, Aaron Thomas, Sherman Taylor. Coaches are David Floyd, Tim Jordan, Patamonte Joe, and Dwayne Williams.
Seniors (cheer) – Alexi Benedetto, Ashley Brown, Airelle Cox, Diamond Doctor, Jasmine Elbert, Tairazhay Gaines, Kianna Goodson, Cecilia Hernandez, Esmeralda Lopez, DeAsia Nombre, Amber Thompson. Coaches are Andrew McDonald, Christina Candiff and Jasmine Walker.