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Youths show off their punting, passing and kicking skills

Northwest Guardian

Published: 05:32PM July 31st, 2014

Final PPK results

Ages 6-7: 1) Harper Foley, 73; 2) Peyton Sanchez, 68; 3) Quinton Scheffler, 56.

Ages 8-9: 1) William Koznarsky, 114; 2) Brandon Serrano, 94; 3) Jeremy Whiting, 68.

Ages 10-11: 1) Austin Simmons, 132; 2) Marcus Maple, 130; 3) Sildey Haamid, 100.

Ages 12 and older: 1) Karl Schenk, 123; 2) Damien Covarrubias, 90.

After a week long flag-football camp, more than 20 children ages 6 to 15 had a chance to compete in the inaugural NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition July 25 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Child, Youth and School Services hosted a flag-football camp July 21-24 at their athletic field on Lewis Main, one of several summer sports camps offered to JBLM families to introduce kids to different sports. The camp taught different types of skills and led up to the installation’s NFL PPK competition.

“(The competition) gives the kids a chance to incorporate the skills they learned in the football camp,” said Allen Reece, CYSS Sports program director.

Children were placed into four different age groups; ages 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 and 12 and older. The goal is to throw, punt and kick (off a tee) for the most distance while keeping the ball as straight as possible.

If a throw or kick goes far left or far right, that distance is subtracted from their attempt and becomes their final score of all three skills.

What makes the competition challenging is that each participant only has one attempt in each skill.

“You definitely have to take your time on throws and kicks,” said Austin Simmons, 11, who said kicking off the tee was the most difficult part. “It’s just trying to get my foot directly on the ball – you only get one kick.”

Simmons, who wore sunglasses in a fashion similar to former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, finished first in the 10-11 age group with a combined distance of a punt, pass and kick of 132 feet. Just two feet further than Marcus Maple – with 130 feet.

While some children won with their arm, others were able to win using their foot skills. William Koznarsky, 8, finished first place in his age group with 114 total feet – 69 of those came from his punt alone.

“My punt was awesome,” Kozarsky said.

Despite being a competition, the parents felt the NFL PPK event was a beneficial way to keep children active. In fact, the NFL promotes the PPK competitions across the country as a way for youths to get out and play at least an hour a day.

“I want them to be active during the summertime and doing something different and new,” said Maribel Covarrubias, a father who signed up both Damien, 12, and Diego, 10, for the CYSS camp and the PPK.

Other parents used the football camp to help their children who want to continue playing football as they mature. Kevin White’s son Kwali, 10, participated in the JBLM flag-football camp for the third year and has been involved with youth football in nearby Steilacoom.

“It’s about building skills over time,” White said.

Children who finished first place will get to move on to a sectional competition in October against other youths from around the area. The time and location has yet to be announced.

Children who were unable to attend the JBLM local competition can find other local events by visiting www.nflppk.com. Signing up is free and the events are open to both boys and girls.