BROOKSVILLE- In Pop Warner’s Football, the Hernando Youth League (HYL) Leopards 8U team has advanced to the third round of the playoffs. They defeated the Palm Beach Gardens Gators 14-0 at Lake Mary High School in Orlando on Nov. 11. They have advanced to the Florida South D 2 final, where they will play the South Florida Generals at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Skyway Sports Complex.
The Skyway Sports Complex is located at 3901 George Rd, Tampa, Florida. The park is just west of the Tampa International Airport.
The HYL Leopards have a record of ten wins and one loss. They lost the first game of the season and have won ten in a row since that loss. They avenged their only loss, beating the team that beat them in the playoffs.
There are only two teams left in their division for their age group. The team has 27 kids who are in second and third grades. They have already had a couple of big comebacks, so they know that the game is not over until there are zeros on the clock.
The coaches for this team are Mike Lastra, James Joyner, and several parents. To get ready for their second playoff game, they called in local legend Tyrone Goodson. Tyrone played HYL for five years before starring at Central High School in Brooksville. He then went on to Auburn University, where he was a standout wide receiver before playing in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers.
He drove down from Ocala to give the players an inspirational speech during their practice. Some of the players knew Tyrone from the local football camp that he puts on. Mike Lastra followed up with a speech of his own and the team was fired up.
The winner of Saturday’s 8U South D 2 championship will advance to play the North D 2 champions at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.