Young Athletes To Prove Ability With One Punt, Pass And Kick

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What do Taylor Wallace, Savanah Grassel, Cade DeSpain, Tyler McMinimy, Ashton Wolf and Devin England have in common?

All were age/sex division winners in the 2005 Payson Pepsi Pitch, Hit and Run competition and could return this year to defend their titles.

The annual event will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 8 on the Payson High School baseball field.

There is no fee, but participants must have a valid birth certificate to enter.

The 2004 competition drew the largest crowd ever with 68 competitors.

Winners from the Payson competition earn the right to enter the sectional championships, which were held last year in Mesa.

The sectional and follow-up competitions are conducted under the same rules as the local events.

Each participant is allowed one punt, pass and place kick, which will be measured for distance and accuracy. For example, if a youngster passes the ball 100 feet, but it flies 30 feet to the right or left of the measuring tape, the score would be 100 minus 30. Following the competition, each competitor's total for the three events is tallied. The players with the highest point totals will be crowned sectional champions. The top-five point producers from sectional competitions held around the state advance to the Arizona Cardinals team championships in Glendale Stadium in December.

The first four boys and girls in the team championships advance to the national finals. Several former and current NFL players have participated in the Punt, Pass and Kick competitions as children, including record-setting quarterbacks Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe.

For more information, call Mary McMullen at (928) 474-5242, ext. 358.

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