Payson Pepsi Winners Set For Flagstaff Showdown


The Rim country will be represented in the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick Sectional Competition by six youngsters who captured Payson age/sex group championships. The sectional showdown will be Nov. 8 in Flagstaff.

The Payson competition was originally scheduled for Sept. 23, but had to be conducted over the course of a week due to the Rim Country Middle School football team's practice schedule and a rainstorm that postponed the event for the older age groups. Several of the youngsters entered in Punt, Pass and Kick were members of the RCMS football teams.


Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Sonny Barraza shows the passing form that helped him win the Pepsi NFL Punt, Pass and Kick championship. The local contest was sponsored by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department.

The 14-15 age group champion, Sonny Barraza is the kicker and punter for the eighth-grade Maverick squad. In winning the title, Barraza posted a total score of 272 feet, 5 inches.

Although Barraza didn't learn he had won the age/sex group title until days after the event, he said he was looking forward to competing in the sectionals against other winners from small-town Arizona.

Also in the boys competition, Nic Creighton won the 12-13 age group title with a score of 272 feet, 5 inches. Posting a tally of 197 feet, Phillip Satterfield won the 10-11 boys division. Cade Despain tallied 137 feet, 9 inches to win the 8-9 crown.

In the girls competition, Kelsey Tidwell won the 8-9 age group championship with a mark of 96 feet, 8 inches.

Tasha Nielsen's total of 111 feet, 10 inches was good enough for the 10-11 title. There were no entries in either the 12-13 or 14-15 girls competition.

The scores of the individuals are based on the distance and accuracy of their punts, passes and kicks.

The winners of the sectional competition earn the right to participate in the Arizona Cardinals Teams Championships when they are held at halftime of the Arizona vs. Carolina game on Dec. 14.

Several former and current NFL players have participated in the Punt, Pass and Kick competition including record-setting quarterbacks Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe.

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