The success of the Bartow Youth Football and Cheerleading Program is well documented.
The organization has had a profound impact on youngsters through the years, but it has provided an even greater benefit to the community as a whole. The success is no longer measured in years, but in generations.
For more than 50 years, the youth of the community have turned to the program to hone skills from a young age. Five age groups compete on the football field with players as young as four years old getting a chance to get valuable experience. From the non-contact (in a sense) flag teams through the tackle teams of Mighty Mite, Pee Wee, Junior and finally Senior, boys get their chance to bond with team members, developing lifelong friendships. Girls gather to cheer the teams on, keeping the fans supporting their squads, win or lose.
Beyond the players, though, is the benefit offered to the adults. Volunteers step up to assist the players through coaching or other aspects of running an organization. Many hours are spent in practices, fundraising and organizational activities. There’s always a drive to provide the best for the kids of the community with little concern about any personal gain.
Come Saturdays, the excitement level is high as the players use all of the pent-up energy from the week previous and bring it to the field to the next opponent. The Bartow Youth Football games are played from 9 a.m. throughout the afternoon hours, starting with the flag (4-6 years old), then moves to the Mighty Mites (7-8 year olds). The big boys play next with the Seniors (13-14) taking the field. That game is followed by the Pee Wees (9-10) and the day closes with the Juniors (11-12).
Bartow’s home games are played at Tommy Walker Field at 555 Park. Admission for adults is $3 for as many games as you wish to take in on a given day. Kids 4-14 are $2 and those younger than 4 are admitted free. A busy concession stand takes care of your food and drink needs.
The Jacket teams are home today, playing against the Lakeland Lumberjacks. There will be only one more home opportunity before the teams head into post-season play. The final home games will match Bartow against visiting teams from the 4 Corners squad on Oct. 19.
Players: Willis Alston, Brice Chaney, Gavriel Dix, Donovan Floyd, Joshua Garrison, Ethan Green, Traveon Hymes, Tavius Leverett, Joshia Martin, Major McBath, Michael Pollard, DeAndrew Smith, Terry Sullivan III, Carl Thomas
Coaches: James Stricklin, Asley Stricklin, Juanita Pullum, DeBron McBath, Alex Green
Cheerleaders: Ailea Floyd, Keiera Forsett, China Hogan, Makiyah Johnson, Jaezyanne Jones, Olivia Leverett, Zyeria Murray, Lisa Reynolds, Layla White
Players: Markese Atwater, Christian Breton, Cedrick Carter Jr., Jaquan Coby, Andre Cruz Jr., Trey Dryer, Sha’Mario Edwards, Darrell Galva, Timothy Graydon Jr., Ayden Johnson, Sheltden Jones, Ta’Narius Manning, Jeremiah Martin, Jhmari Martin, Landon Pope, LaDarien Rollins, Anthony Sanders Jr., Dalton Smith, Tyshawn Smith, Trevin West, Jaydon Williams
Coaches: Michael Johnson, Kelly Johnson, Andrew Smith, Timothy Graydon, Andre Cruz
Cheerleaders: Jada Green, Qua’taza Hogan, Ninah Manning, Parker McGruder, Jazmyn McWhorter, Layla Moreno, Briana Owusu, Delila Smith, Shuntrese Williams, Adrianna Woods
Player And Coaches Roster Not Provided
Cheerleaders: Keimora Bell, Jada Bethea, Ra’Meria Graydon, Shatera Hogan, Nikhya McClain, Cameron Rowe, Sayler Sharp, Beniyah Smith, Jayla Stanley, Zha’Maya Steward
Players: Isaac Albritton, Denzil Alleyne III, Maurice Bell, Austin Breeden, David Browder, Napoleon Clark, Malik Eason, Jerquan Fagen, Kiondre Ford, Andy Garcia, Elijah Green, Serjio Hernandez, Malikai House-Sanders, Martin Johnson, Noah Lewis, Adrian Merricks, Eduardo Rivera Jr., Derrick Robinson, Lennell Rollins, Philip Sloan, Benjamin Smith, Gauge Stricklin, Lathan Stricklin, Demius Webster, Christopher Wilson
Coaches: Benjamin Smith Jr., Cody Breton, Charles Clayton, Martin Johnson
Cheerleaders: Aaliyah Adams, DonAshia Brooks, Terria Hogan, Martes Johnson, Timara Jordan, Adrianna Macias, Alexus Pollard, Turiana Riley, Diamond Sanders, Omarrea Sanders, Trie Tilson
Players: Chrishawn Butler, Anthony Eford, Elijah Eford, Rashaad Hall, D’ante Jones, Stanley Jones, Javares King, Javon Logan, Victor Lugo, Zachary Martin, Gregory McGruder, Bruce Pollard, Ronald Pollard, Boone Robinson, Cazerious Robinson, Cory Rowe, Malique Scurry, Sherman Taylor, Reginald Thomas, Azinde Wiggins, Davin Williams
Coaches: Robert Armstring II, Jeremy Davis, Dwayne Williams, William McCullough, Rashaad Pope, Al Carter
Cheerleaders: Ashiya Daughtry, Diamond Doctor, Tairazhay “TJ” Gaines, Gara Jackson, Tre’Vonta Tollie
Cheerleader Coaches: Tesia Biggs-Johnson, Tonya Clayton, Cora Owen Forsett, Nina Gonzalez, Stacey Moreno, Lisa Sharp, Jasmine Walker, Ellie White