Punt, Pass, and Kick competition next Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2005

On September 17, all that time spent practicing in the backyard might finally pay off for several Demopolis kids.

That’s thanks to the fourth annual NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass, and Kick competition. The competition is being hosted by the Demopolis Parks and Recreation Department Saturday, Sept. 17, and will take place at DHS’s Memorial Stadium. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the competition kicking off at 10. Participation is open to both boys and girls ages 8 to 15 and is free of charge.

“It promotes health, good sportsmanship, and physical activity,” says Demopolis Parks and Rec’s Johnny Brooker, who will once again oversee the competition. “It’s for both boys and girls, and it’s a national program endorsed by Parks and Recreation departments… It’s just a good activity.”

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The competition will consist of three categories: punting, passing, and–you guessed it–kicking. In each phase participants will punt, pass, or kick a football not only as far as they can, but as accurately as they can. Each participant will be assigned a score for each category based on both distance and accuracy and the scores for each category will be tallied together for a final total score. Winners will be named in four different age divisions (8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15) based on high scores.

Another exciting aspect of the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition is that because the rules are standardized by the NFL nationwide, the scores of participants in Demopolis will be compared to those state- and region-wide. A top-notch score could earn a Demopolis competitor an invite to the regional Punt, Pass, and Kick event in Decatur.

“We’ve had some in the past advance,” Brooker says. “It’s a good experience for the kids.”

If there’s any problem with the Demopolis event, Brooker says, it’s that it hasn’t yet drawn enough interest. In an effort to increase participation, Brooker organized the 2004 competition as part of the Demopolis schools’ physical education program. But the amount of time needed to keep the program as part of PE was not feasible and the competition has returned to being a one-day event.

Brooker added that turn-out has been hurt by a school rule that players competing for one of Demopolis’s football teams (either DMS or DHS) may not participate in Punt, Pass, and Kick. He hopes, though, that the exposure of the program to so many potential participants last year will lead to bigger numbers this year.

“Our turnout has been somewhat low, not as much as we’d hoped,” Brooker admits. “Last time it was a one-day event, like this year, we had 20-some-odd kids participate. Obviously we’re hoping for greater numbers than that. If we have 50 kids come, I’ll be happy.”

For more information on the competition, contact Johnny Brooker at 289-2891. Entry forms are available from Omni Sports, Athletes Foot, and your school P.E. teacher.