CLEARWATER — A Pinellas County youth football team will play Saturday for the Florida Youth Association state championship.
The Countryside Junior Cougar Midgets, in their first year as a member of the statewide conference, will try to cap off a perfect season against the West Kendall Dolphins.
Team officials are seeking community donations to help get to the game, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at American Heritage High in Plantation.
They say it will cost about $4,500 to transport, house and feed 25 football players, 10 cheerleaders, 10 coaches, team moms and board members, president Rodney Surratt said.
The Clearwater Youth Foundation has donated $1,000, and the Suncoast Youth Football League another $1,500. Officials are seeking an additional $2,000 so the team can leave Friday, rest and prepare for the game.
"We're trying to raise enough money so the kids don't have to travel and play a football game all in one day," Surratt said.
The team includes 13- and 14-year-olds from Clearwater, Countryside, Seminole, Tarpon Springs and East Lake.
They are 13-0 this season and have won 36 of their last 37 games, as well as two Suncoast Youth Football League championships.
Some of them have played together since they were 6 years old and Saturday will be their last game together.
"They're aging out," Surratt said. "The toughest part is my son is on this team. This is his last event in youth sports, so it's a pretty big event.
"We're very excited."
Rodney Thrash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4167.