With goals of advancing to sectional competition on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and eventually to the state finals in Arizona Cardinals Glendale stadium, gridiron hopefuls from around the Rim Country lined up for the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick contest.
In the competition held Sept.8 on the Payson High School baseball field, five youngsters qualified for the sectional finals.
The age/sex group winners included Austin Gibson (boys; 8-9 years), Justin Carlen (boys; 10-11 years), Westin Gibson (boys; 12-13 years), Marcela Amaya (girls; 8-9 years) and Alexandria Parker (girls; 10-11 years).
Payson did not have any entries in either 14-15 years age/sex group or in the girls 12-13 years division.
"Those are the two groups of children we would like to encourage to participate next year," town recreation coordinator Mary McMullen said.
In Austin Gibson win, his attempts in the three events -- punt, pass and kick -- totaled 142 feet 3 inches.
Runner-up Elfrain Amaya finished at 135 feet, 6 inches and bronze medalist Jacob Avakian racked up a score of 133 feet 6 inches.
Carlen finished with a mark of 213 feet, 4 inches to out duel Skyler Tuer (208 feet, 2 inches) and Kain England (205 feet).
Westin Gibson dominated his age group with a mark of 325 feet, 5 inches. Silver medalist Samuel Grassel trailed with 244 feet, 7 inches. Ryan Campbell posted a mark of 240 feet.
In the girls' 10-11 years class, Parker won big with a tally of 148 feet, 8 inches. In second at 120 feet, 5 inches was Anaiah Blair. Savannah Grassel was third and 106 feet, 3 inches. There was no second or third place in the girls 8-9 years group.
The sectional competition will be held at at 10 a.m. Oct. 21 at the Arizona Cardinals practice field next to the Skydome on the Northern Arizona University campus.