Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

SJRYFC City Championships!

The St. Johns River Youth Football Conference Championships were held Saturday at University Christian High School. The games featured five contenst with ten teams consisting of five divisions (6U, 8U, 10U, 12U, and 14U), only one from each division to be crowned champion.  The stage was set for great youth football action on the first coast.

 

6U Woodland Acre Wolverines vs F.L.A Vikings
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In 6U action the Woodland Acre Wolverines put up 36 points to defeat the F.L.A Vikings. Both teams tied in the regular season game at 6-6, so it was no surprise that both teams would see each other again in the championship game.IMG_4417 (800x533) This time however the Wolverines got the best of the Vikings.  QB Tre Edwards made several plays for Woodland Acres and  Zaden Jones had no fumbled snaps ( a monumental feat for 6 yr olds). The defense played great, and the offense was explosive thanks to Eden Carabello, Deon Pennington, and Prince Kerkula three of the many talented players on the team. Woodland Acres Head Coach Kris Carabello was even able to get one of their offensive linemen a touchdown at the end of the game to reward him for his play on the line. The effort was great by the F.L.A Vikings, but they came up just short this year. The players from both teams, many of whom are beginning to learn the game of football should be commended for their hard work and effort all season.

Congratulations to the 6U Woodland Acre Wolverines, City Champions. 

 

8U Clay Bears vs Gainesville Panthers

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The Gainesville Panthers traveled all the way from Alachua County to face the Clay Bears from Clay County in a game that might’ve been considered more of a regional championship than a city championship.

IMG_4283 (800x533) But both teams earned the right to be in the big dance after impressive regular seasons and playoff wins. Ironically it was these two teams that faced off against each other last year in the first round of the playoffs with Clay winning last year. This year both teams seemed to be on a collision course for a most anticipated rematch.

Yet this year the Gainesville Panthers came into the game with much more fanfare, touted as one of the best 8U teams in the state. They certainly did not disappoint those who came out to see them.

The Panthers sported one of the most dynamic rushing attacks in the entire championships. They were led by running back Vernell Brown  III who scored four touchdowns in the game. Brown was unstoppable scoring from short yardage and long yardage including an 85 yard touchdown run.

Vernell Brown III M.V.P of the 8U title game

Vernell Brown III M.V.P of the 8U title game

But the attack did not just consist of Brown, RB #22 Leland Johnson also ran wild on the afternoon, and ran two conversions in for his team. Clay attempted to get back into the game when Derek Neal scored on a short touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. The Bears were not lacking in size or speed, but they did not have what it took to get back into the contest.

The dynamic Panther offense was just to much. Quarterback # 7 Collin Dumore put the game out of reach when he hit the big tight end #2 Logan McCloud for a touchdown pass of 30 yards, as McCloud shrugged off two Clay defenders to score. It was a fitting end to a game in which the panthers dominated. Head Coach Vernell Brown Jr reflected on the season after the game.

“One of the motto’s that we set forth at the beginning of the season was dominate and compete. We want to dominate teams that we play and if we play a team that has equal or maybe greater talent than us we want to compete. But we look to dominate every time we step on the football field” – Vernell Brown Jr.

 

 

Congratulations to the Gainesville Panthers 8U Champions

10U Gainesville Panthers vs Villages Panthers

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The most exciting game of the day came from the 10U division that featured the Gainesville Panthers and the Villages Panthers. Gainesville featured two teams in the championship and both ironically featured impressive running games. IMG_4396 (800x533)The 10U Panthers rolled out their baby blue Mustang GT with a V8 under the hood. But Villages sported a shiny green Camaro Z28 equipped with a V8 themselves and both were ready to roll! The Blue Mustang was in the form of Gainesville’s starting tailback #4 Isaiah Donaldson. He came out of the starting line smoking giving his Panthers an early lead. Gainesville pounded the ball off tackle and hit the edge several times behind their massive offensive line. It worked to perfection as they built a halftime lead.IMG_4409 (800x533) But just before halftime the Camaro in the form of running back Dominique Henry got revved up and began to break off some long runs of his own. After halftime Henry would shine. He weaved in and out making defenders miss, captivating the capacity crowd with his running style. He broke off an incredible 80 yard touchdown run, making three defenders miss and tip toeing down the sideline to tie the game at the end of regulation.

The performances by Donaldson and Henry would force overtime in the contest. Score:14-14. In overtime Gainesville got the ball first. It took just one play for Donaldson to power off the left tackle carrying defenders into the endzone. The conversion was also good by Donaldson who was the work horse for Gainesville all game. Head Coach Vincent Brown Sr. put the ball in his hands when it counted and the talented runner delivered for the signal caller. The Score was 21-14 and now it was the Villages turn to answer.

Instead of keeping the ball in the hands of his stud running back, Coach Rob Weber instead elected to stick with his game plan and philosophy of spreading the ball around. On first down Henry ran a tough ISO play up the gut following his blockers to the T. It placed the Panthers just outside the one yard line.

Henry & Weber discuss the pending conversion attempt in OT.

Henry & Weber discuss the pending conversion attempt in OT.

Villages was stopped on their next down when Coach Weber put the ball in the hands of his starting QB #8 Weber on third down, who dropped a beautiful pass to the tight end for the score. The Villages Panthers would need a conversion to tie the game and Coach Weber called a timeout to discuss the plan. After the timeout the Villages Panthers ran the play, but the Gainesville Panthers ran an all out blitz to stuff the Henry in the backfield.

It was an amazing game played by two amazing teams. But only one could be crowned champion… the Gainesville Panthers.

The game M.V.P was fittingly, #4 Donaldson the hard running Mustang GT!

 

 

 

12U Woodland Acres Wolverines vs Clay Bears 

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The 12U Clay Bears came into the game riding a wave of confidence. That wave started in part thanks to the winning tradition the team started. There was a national youth football ranking that listed them  in their top five as one of the best teams in nation.  They ran through the season undefeated at 7-0 and many had Coach Debo and the Bears winning the 12U title.

Coach Papa J and the Woodland Acre Wolverines took a very different road to the championship game. They were 5-2 on the regular season. They had to fight and claw their way all season and throughout the playoffs. And many considered their playoff wins as upsets which landed them in the championship game.

Not only did the teams travel very different roads to the championship game, but both teams possessed complete contrasting styles. The Bears featured long rangy athletes that cover lots of ground with speed and agility. IMG_4583 (800x533)Athlete’s such as Devin Graham, QB D’Marre Craddock, and WR Jocqua Keeton Jr  lead an attack that jumps out on teams quick and uses their athleticism to force opponents into submission. The Wolverines deployed a different approach to the game. The team is built full of scrappy athletes, undersized but hard nosed. Their leader Quarterback #6 Coby Bates embodies this characteristic. Not quite tall enough to be considered your prototypical QB, and not quite fast enough to be your ideal running back , Bates can best be described as simply a football player.  He runs hard and aggressive, and can make plays from anywhere on the field. And ironically, the game would take on the form of each team.

Clay jumped out early to a 12-0 lead going into half time. The Bears scored so quickly and so diversely that it seemed as if they would have to many weapons for their opponents to stop. But the Woodland Acres Coaching staff should be commended for their half time adjustments. IMG_4572 (800x533)They would be key to getting the Wolverines back in the game.

Just minutes into the second half Bates would bust two runs for a touchdowns closing Clay’s lead to 18-14.  Craddock would lead his team for a second half score for Clay putting the pressure back on Bates to respond, and respond he did. Late in the contest Bates hit #23 Jeremiah Huntley on a beautiful pass to take the lead 21-18. Being in unfamiliar territory late in the game, the Bears could not respond to the score and the Wolverines completed the upset 21-18!

Congratulations to the Woodland Acre Wolverines 12U City Champions! 

 

14U Star Ready Gators Defeat Clay Bears

Big Zae #11 for Star Ready is a  hard nosed tough yet respectful young man. It’s players like him that may not get the same headlines as some of his skill position teammates, but it’s players like him who make the difference on a football team. IMG_4638 (800x533)The Star Ready Gators may not have been the best team in their division, but they certainly were one of the better coached teams. After losing to Flagler last year in the city championships, the Gators were on a mission this year.  Led by an explosive running game and arguably one of the best 14U running backs in the city, the 2015 Gators knew they had what it took to become champions. Yet early in the season they struggled to make their mark. At 5-2 on the season the Gators suffered losses along the way to their championship. They would lose to the Clay Bears the very same team they would face in the championship, so they knew in order to be the man, they had to beat the man. IMG_4641 (800x533)Clay was (7-0)  on the season, they had an unprecedented three teams from their park playing for championships, a testament to the hard work and dedication the players, coaches and park volunteers put toward building a successful program. But this afternoon in 14U belong to Star Ready and Coach Lane.

Lane featured a balanced attack of  runs off tackle and up the middle to set up the pass. A staple of his offense that led to the victory. It was a special moment not only for him, his coaching staff, and team moms, but all of the volunteers that contributed to the success of the 14U team. Players like Jason Nelson #3 a CB who is in his last year at the park. To play for the park at different levels in football and to go out on top in his last season was a “dream come true”. It’s something that should remind all fans of the sport what is truly important in youth football, and that’s celebrating the achievements of the young men & women whose lives are touched every day they step on the field.

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Congratulations to the Star Ready Gators, City Champions! 

 

Special Thanks to the St. Johns River Youth Football Conference  SJRYFC please click the link to learn more about their organization.

 

Check out the Photo Gallery of Championship games by clicking the link below

Photo Gallery

 

 

 

 

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