UNION COUNTY — The road to becoming a national champion could begin for some Union County children with the local “NFL Punt, Pass & Kick” competition.
Jessica Gallman, Program Director for the Union County Recreation Department, said that, as it has for nearly two decades, the department will once again sponsor the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition for local children ages 6-15.
“This year’s competition is September 14,” Gallman said Friday. “It begins at 10 a.m. at the Union County Stadium. It’s a free event in which the kids are asked to punt, pass, and kick a football. We measure according to NFL PPK guidelines. Winners are chosen based on the longest distance. It is open to boys and girls.”
The event is the first in a series of athletic competitions which sees the winners at each level move up to the next one until they finally reach the national level. Over the years more than a dozen young athletes from Union County have gone beyond the local competition including one who went on to compete nationally.
“Punt, Pass & Kick has been in Union since 1995 and it’s always taken place at the Union County Stadium,” Gallman said. “The rec department hosts what’s called a local competition. When your first place winners leave our competition they go to a sectional competition. From there, if they win, they go to a team championship competition associated with the Carolina Panthers. After the team championship there’s a national competition.
“During the 19 years we’ve been doing Punt, Pass & Kick we’ve had 13 athletes advance to the Carolina Panthers team championships,” he said. “In 2007, Dexlie Inman, a Union native finished fourth in her age level at the nationals.”
Gallman said that children who want to participate must be registered at the Union County Recreation Department next week before Saturday.
“We would like to have them preregistered at the rec department,” Gallman said. “The rec department is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will have to have their birth certificate with them in order to register.”
Gallman added that during the event participants will not be allowed to wear cleats, only tennis shoes.
Anyone with questions about the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition should call Sam Phipps at 864-429-1670.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.