With dreams of possibly advancing to the national NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick finals, Rim Country youths line up Sept. 7 on Longhorn baseball field to compete in the Payson area championships.
Among those missing, however, was Justin Carlen, who last year won local and sectional PP&K titles before finishing third at the regional championships, held at an Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle game in Glendale.
Carlen didn't return to defend his title in the 11-year-old boys division, which this year was won by Taylor Wallace, with a three-event total of 151 feet, 11 inches.
In the 12-13-years boys division, Kevin Robles out-dueled Tyler Apps for the title. Robles finished with 165 feet and Apps carded 132 feet, 7 inches.
Among the 14-15-years boys, Steve Andres posted a mark of 235 feet, 7 inches that was almost 100 feet better than his nearest competition.
Brian Skinner won the 9-10-years boys title with a mark of 137 feet, 11 inches.
Only seven inches behind him was runner-up Brigham Flake.
In the girls division, winners were Sadie Tuckfield (9-10 years; 71 feet, 1 inch), Brittany Robles (12-13-years; 71 feet, 5 inches) and Katie Hancock (14-15-years; 126 feet, 8 inches).
With the local wins, the champions are eligible to advance to the sectional showdown, to be held next month in Flagstaff.
The NFL Pepsi gridiron program is a national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of 8-15 years to compete separately against their peers.
Established in 1961, the PP&K program is the oldest NFL Youth Football program.
Girls and boys in four separate age divisions compete against each other in punting, passing and place kicking.
The PP&K program is free -- both to organizers, like the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, who host local competitions and to every youngster who wants to participate.
With more than four million boys and girls from around the country taking part in PP&K competitions, it is one of the world's largest youth sports participation programs.