Brandon Academy’s eighth-grade student and FishHawk Wolfpack Midget youth football player, Brady Lawrence, had hoped for just one thing during the second round of the annual NFL Punt Pass and Kick (PPK) competition: To do ‘OK’ in each skill.

To his surprise, which was the same for his family watching, the total distance of 329.1 ft. was not only OK but earned Lawrence first place and won the competition of his age group (Boys 14 and15) last month held at the Tampa Bay Bucs Practice Facility.

Not sure about his chances of winning and with no room for mistakes, Lawrence was counting on his skills and to just give his best.

“I know I have a strong leg and an OK arm, but I surprised myself and my family on how well I did,” Lawrence said.  “There was some real good competition, and with no second chances, I was able to do well in each skill.”

The PPK contest is led by specific rules sectioned by the National Football League and is a free national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of six and 15 to compete separately against their peers with a chance to represent their team during a national final contest.

The program was established in 1961, and is the NFL’s longest running youth program, promising to allow local youth the experience of learning football fundamentals in an fun-filled, engaging and supportive non-contact environment.

Buccaneers’ own starting quarterback, Josh Freeman, along with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Dan Marino also took part in the skills competition.

During the contest, girls and boys in five separate age divisions (6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15) will have a chance to compete against each other in punting, passing and place kicking in a fun and engaging forum.

With the recent win and renewed confidence, Lawrence is looking ahead to the regional competition scheduled for Sunday, December 8 at the Tampa Bay Bucs game (Bucs vs. Bills) against other winners.

“I am very excited and really looking forward to going to the Bucs game for the next round,” he said, adding that he is planning on preparing by practicing and trying to get stronger in the legs and arm.

“My football coach has given me lots of chances to kick in practice and I am fortunate enough to have them help me,” he said.

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