HAGERSTOWN —Not even the threat of Hurricane Irene could keep youth away from North Hagerstown High School, as more than 40 kids competed in the local NFL Punt, Pass and Kick event on Saturday, sponsored by the Hagerstown Youth Football & Athletic Association.
“I thought the overall turnout was great considering all of the hurricane warnings,” said Randy Franklin of the HYFAA, the organizer of the event.
The NFL Punt, Pass and Kick is a competition for children between the ages of 6-15 in which each competitor gets one punt, pass and kick each and the distances of all three are combined for each individual’s final score.
Scores are based on both distance and accuracy. For example, if a participant passes the ball 100 feet, but the ball lands 30 feet to the right of the measuring tape, the final score is calculated by deducting 30 from 100, for a final score of 70.
Each winner from Saturday’s local event will travel to Westminster, Md., for the sectional competition on Oct. 15. From there, winners advance to a regional round for a chance to compete in the national finals at halftime of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.
“It’s physical activity, similar to the NFL Play 60 program,” said Franklin. “It allows kids to give football a try whether they are familiar with the game or not, and I think that’s something that transcends from the HYFAA.”
Along with the physical aspect of the event, it also helps teach kids life lessons that they can carry with them to adulthood. Wayne Sutphin, a former University of Virginia football player, began Saturday’s event with a bit of wisdom for the competitors.
“The two most important things are sportsmanship and academics,” said Sutphin. “If you can keep both of those things up, you will be successful at whatever you do.”
With Saturday’s turnout, Franklin is determined to make NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick an annual event.
“Looking at the attendence, we obviously have the interest, so why not make this an annual event that kids can enjoy for years to come?” said Franklin.
· Individual winners by age group: 6-7 — James Evans Jr., 35 feet; 8-9 boys — Matthew Bishop, 65 feet; 8-9 girls — Jessica Geyer, 15 feet; 10-11 boys — Jalen Jones, 75 feet; 10-11 girls — Caitlin Thumann, 55 feet; 12-13 boys — T.J. Peer, 125 feet; 12-13 girls — Mylasia Lewis, 70 feet.