The early morning crowd at Ackerman Park in West Ashley for the first of three Punt, Pass and Kick skills challenges was small but excited.
Parents and friends joined the competitors in loosening up by doing what the name implies: punting, passing and kicking a football.
The skills competition is divided into five age groups for boys and girls: 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15.
They are allowed one punt, one pass and one kick from a tee. A straight line is the target and the score is the distance the punt, pass or kick travels minus the distance off the center line.
The totals for each skill are added together to determine which competitor will advance to the next stage.
Other local Punt, Pass and Kick competitions are scheduled Sept. 22 at St. John’s High School and Sept. 27 at Park West in Mount Pleasant (nflppk.com).
Phillip “Tate” Brashier, 6, was at Ackerman Park with his grandfather, Ken Lineberger. He would compete against Mattox Crawford, a flag football teammate who was following in the footsteps of two older football-playing brothers.
Tate was the player to advance in their age group, and he admitted to being a little nervous about the event. But afterward he seemed more interested in playing catch with his grandfather, who has been taking him to home Carolina Panther games since he was 2 years old. His mom said this was the first year Tate has picked football over soccer.
Other local winners from Ackerman Park included: Carter Blumenstock (8-9), Major Chestnut (10-11), David Seagle (12-13) and Riley Rozanski (14-15).
Winners at the local competition will advance to a sectional competition. Sectional winners will have their scores compared with other sectional champions, with the top four scorers from the pool of sectional champions advancing to the team championship.
Punt, Pass and Kick began in 1961 and is the official skills competition of the National Football League.