3.5 million kids competed, but only 32 made it to the 2002- 2003 NFL GATORADE PUNT, PASS AND KICK National Finals. The competition will take place prior to the Saturday, Jan. 11 AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in Nashville. NFL Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick is the nation's largest grassroots sports skills competition. More information about the competition, including top scores from all age divisions, is on www.NFLYouthfootball.com, the NFL's official youth football website.
A special live, on-field award presentation for NFL Gatorade 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 minus 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 Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick National Finalists.
Current NFL stars Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills QB Drew Bledsoe, Baltimore Ravens K Matt Stover, New York Jets' QB Vinny Testaverde and K Tom Tupa
Competed in the league's Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick program when they were youngsters.
"The NFL Gatorade 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 against the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers in Nashville. In addition, all finalists will be treated to an awards banquet.
NFL Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick action may be followed on NFLYouthfootball.com.
NFL Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick National Finalists:
|**Name, Hometown, (Team Champion)**||**Name, Hometown, (Team Champion)**|
|**Girls 8-9**||**Boys 8-9**|
|Savannah Stona, Safety Harbor, FL (Buccaneers)||Daniel Morse, Miami Lakes, FL (Dolphins)|
|Hannah Carson, Mesa, AZ (Cardinals)||Reed Svoboda, Lincoln, NE (Chiefs)|
|Katlyn Cleaver, Iola, KS (Chiefs)||**Andrew LaValle, Cape Elizabeth, ME (Patriots)**|
|Alex Kotter, Vincennes, IN (Colts)||Alfredo Rodriguez, Chula Vista, CA (Chargers)|
|**Girls 10-11**||**Boys 10-11**|
|Whitney Fletcher, Decatur, AL (Falcons)||**Alex Kershaw, S. Easton, MA (Patriots)**|
|Merisa Rudy, Philadelphia, PA (Eagles)||Kyle Tedder, Coos Bay, OR (Seahawks)|
|Janessa Smith, Daly City, CA (49ers)||Christian Walker, Limerick, PA (Eagles)|
|Theresa Plaisance, Harvey, LA (Saints)||Joshua Davidson, Barron, WI (Green Bay)|
|**Girls 12-13**||**Boys 12-13**|
|Natalie Baumgardt, Mosinee, WI (Packers)||Aaron Lee, Churubusco, IN (Colts)|
|Lindsay Thompson, Bradenton, FL (Buccaneers)||Kevin Millward, Martinez, GA (Falcons)|
|Krista Donnenwirth, Mission Viejo, CA (Chargers)||Damiano Whittington, Elizabethtown, NC (Panthers)|
|**Caroline Vatelle, Sandwich, MA (Patriots)**||Corey Savage, Humboldt, TN (Titans)|
|**Girls 14-15**||**Boys 14-15**|
|Ashley Malone, Hamlin, TX (Cowboys)||Patrick McAfee, Pittsburgh, PA (Steelers)|
|Holly Stein, Ft. Recovery, OH (Colts)||Robert Anderson, Westerly, RI (Patriots)|
|Leigh Elko, N. Brunswick, NJ (Giants)||P.J. Fitzgerald, Coral Springs, FL (Dolphins)|
|Alia Soulek, Freeman, SD (Minnesota)||Matthew Edelman, New Port Richey, FL (Buccaneers)|
The NFL Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick program is part of the NFL's "Play Football" 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 "Play Football" programs include NFL Flag, Junior Player Development, High School Player Development and Player Development Camps.