Finalists Hail From 19 U.S. States, CBS to Spotlight Champions
Three-and-a-half million kids competed, but only 32 made it to the 2004-2005 NFL PUNT, PASS AND KICK National Finals. The competition will take place prior to the Saturday, January 15 AFC Divisional Playoff Game in Pittsburgh. NFL Punt, Pass and Kick is the nation's largest grassroots sports skills competition.
A special, live, on-field award presentation for NFL Punt, Pass and Kick champions will air between the third and fourth quarters of the AFC Divisional Playoff Game's 4:30 p.m. ET CBS telecast.
Boys and girls compete separately in four age divisions (8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15), with the top scorer in each group being crowned National Champion. All participants launch one punt, one pass and one kick, with scores based on distance and accuracy (in feet). All 32 youngsters advanced to the National Finals through local, sectional and team championship competitions held throughout the NFL regular season. Only the top four scores in each age group from around the country qualify as NFL Punt, Pass and Kick National Finalists.
Current NFL stars, including Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills QB Drew Bledsoe, Baltimore Ravens K Matt Stover, Dallas Cowboys QB Vinny Testaverde and Washington Redskins K Tom Tupa, competed in the league's Punt, Pass and Kick program when they were youngsters.
"The NFL Punt, Pass and Kick program is one way we introduce the game of football to millions of girls and boys around the country," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "We continue to see more kids participate which bodes well for the future of the game."
All participants and their two guests are provided airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the AFC Divisional Playoff game in Pittsburgh. In addition, all finalists and their guests will be treated to an awards banquet.
More information about the competition, including top scores from all age divisions, is on www.NFLYouthfootball.com, the NFL's official youth football website.
NFL Punt, Pass and Kick National Finalists:
Sarah Firestone, Mercersburg, PA (Ravens)
Mikayla Hilton, Saukville, WI (Packers)
Morgan Ferrera, Tampa, FL (Buccaneers)
Alexis Bantz, Auburn, NE (Chiefs)
Dumsira Nwibiabu, Salt Lake City, UT (Broncos)
Boone Lewis, Melbourne, FL (Buccaneers)
Caleb Carson, Clay Center, KS (Chiefs)
Steven Sensley, Baton Rouge, LA (Saints)
Leslie Finch, Wilson, NC (Panthers)
Candace Martino, Bethel Park, PA (Steelers)
Devon Wallace, Double Oak, TX (Cowboys)
Makayla Becker, Thompson Falls, MT (Seahawks)
Thomas Vandergailen, Randolph, WI (Packers)
Jeremy Tuttle, Sierra Vista, AZ (Cardinals)
David Smith, Lahaina, HI (Chargers)
Chad Kelly, Grand Island, NY (Bills)
Theresa Plaisance, Harvey, LA (Saints)
Whitney Fletcher, Decatur, GA (Falcons)
Gretchen Hollas, Houston, TX (Texans)
Brooke Bursiek, Cape Coral, FL (Buccaneers)
Ricardo Salazar, Needville, TX (Texans)
Manny Szwabowski, Redlands, CA (Chargers)
A.J. Firestone, Mercersburg, PA (Ravens)
Josh Couch, Clarksville, OH (Bengals)
Karlee McQuillen, Johnstown, PA (Steelers)
Krista Donnenwirth, Mission Viejo, CA (Chargers)
Kristen Eible, Lansing, MI (Lions)
Joanna Coe, Mays Landing, NJ (Eagles)
Spencer Clare, Double Oak, TX (Cowboys)
Nathaniel Sisolak, Springfield, GA (Falcons)
Michael Gambardella, West Haven, CT (Patriots)
Raul Reyes, Porterville, CA (Raiders)
The NFL Punt, Pass and Kick program is part of the NFL's "Dream Big. Play Big." initiative that provides exciting ways for even more children to play, watch and experience the game of football. According to a recent ESPN Sports Poll, football is the favorite sport of kids.
Additional NFL youth football programs include NFL FLAG, Junior Player Development, and High School Player Development.