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Local students hone their NFL skills
Over 120 students at Walnut Elementary Education Center practice their kicks, throws, and punts in hopes of being one of the top children in the country in the Punt Pass and Kick program sponsored by the National Football League. - photo by Photo contributed by Bret Sutterley
The lawn outside Walnut Elementary Education Center was transformed into a mini National Football League training camp this past September for 120 students who were looking to put their best punt, pass and kick forward.
Walnut fifth grade teacher Bret Sutterley organized the school’s Punt, Pass and Kick program, a NFL event that gives young athletes a chance to compete in regional and national competitions.
Each student gets one shot to throw the ball, kick the ball and pass the ball, Sutterley said. They are judged by how far they throw, pass and kick.
“It is a one-shot deal,” he said. “They either do well and advance or they don’t.”
There are five age groups that compete within the school level competition, Sutterley said. It starts at the age of eight up to the age of 12. To go onto the next level, which is regionals, they must rank first in their age group. At the end of the program at Walnut, there were five winners for the five age groups that went onto regionals.
Sixth grader Jonathan Temple and third grader Jessup Lake went onto regionals this year.
“It is a great opportunity to recognize kids for their skills,” Sutterley said.
To move onto the next level, the students must keep placing first in their age group, he said. It starts at the school level, then the regional level, then Northern California and finally, nationals.
Lake placed fourth in his age group so he will not be going on to nationals, but he did get to compete for the first time at the Oakland Raiders stadium.
Temple placed first and will be competing on the national level with other children from all over the county. Temple is ranked second overall in the nation. He will be competing in Boston, Mass. in January.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.