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Local kids Punt, Pass & Kick for NFL glory
Carson McCormack, 11, a fifth-grader at Mount Vernon Elementary School, throws a football during the 2008 NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick competition Sunday, co-sponsored by Gainesville Parks and Recreation and Hall County Parks and Leisure Services at East Hall Park. The competition is the oldest NFL youth football program. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Gainesville Parks and Recreation and Hall County Parks and Leisure Services hosted the 2008 NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick Competition on Sunday at East Hall Park.

The annual NFL competition was open for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 15 who were then split into different divisions by age, group and gender. The kids compete in punting, passing and placekicking,

According to Steve Hutson, who was in charge of the event, winners from each age division will go on to compete against the winners from other local counties in the sectional that will also be at East Hall Park on Oct. 12. The winner from there will go on to the team competition at the Georgia Dome later this year.

"The best part is it’s free," Hutson said. "This is something with the economy the way it is that they don’t have to pay for."

Several boys and girls around the area came to compete in this year’s competition.

Drew Atha, 10, of Gainesville was no stranger to this competition. This being his third year competing, he had his mind on winning.

"Last year, I got really far," he said.

He was the winner of his division last year and went to the sectionals.

Drew said he was looking forward to "hopefully coming in first and going to the next level."

Another returning competitor was Josh Randolph, 9, of Flowery Branch.

"This is my second year," he said. Josh said he wanted "to come and win and have fun."

For Hannah Davis, 9, of Suwanee, this was her first time competing. She plays with her father a lot, and he was the one who found out about the competition.

She decided to compete this year.

Hall County Parks and Leisure Services and Gainesville Parks and Recreation sometimes work together to sponsor children’s events, such as Sunday’s competition.

"The kids show their skills in this competition," Hutson said. "We’re trying to provide as much as we possibly can for the kids."

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