Like a true football player, Warren Toleson did what it takes to make it to the field.
He dressed warmly, left his house early and arrived on time and pumped up at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada's competition for the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick challenge.
"I'm here because football is my favorite sport and 'Punt, Pass and Kick' is my favorite thing at the boys and girls club," he said digging his hands into his pockets to keep them warm. "We get to see all of our friends and we can practice with each other."
When it came time for Warren, a 10-year-old student from Fremont Elementary School, to strut his stuff, he did without shyness. His punt traveled 16 feet, eight inches, his pass went 50 feet.
"Good throw Warren," yelled Zane Cole, athletic director for the club - and his kick went 21 feet, 11 inches.
"It hurt my foot," Warren send after his last event.
Still, he was a champion and his spirits were high. Whether sitting on a nearby bench, warming up or walking around talking with friends, he always had a positive demeanor.
"Wham, right there," he said as Dax Jones' kick landed. "Eight ball, corner pocket."
The NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick challenge is an annual event and is open to all children between the ages of 8 and 15, not just members of the club. Each of the first-place winners, seven in all, will advance to the next competition to be held in Northern Nevada. Winners from there head to the Oakland Raiders' stadium for an even more intense contest.
The Raiders' stadium is a place that 15-year-old Paul Cagle, quarterback for the junior varsity football team at Carson High School, knows well. He's been there to compete several times.
"It's great," he said. "It's crazy. At half-time we went out and did it. It was nerve-racking. If you did good, the crowd cheered you on, but if you did bad, they booed."
"It was more like 'awwed' in disappointment," his mom Julene Cagle corrected.
Because the weather was cold, fewer children participated than usual. But what inspired Kristalei Wolfe, 12, to come was her brother, Casey, 10, competing last year at half-time during an Oakland Raiders game.
"It looked really fun," she said.
Each of the 14 students who participated received a certificate, ribbon and an issue of "Sports Illustrated for Kids." First-place winners were also given a T-shirt.
When they were done, eight adults participated in a punt, pass and kick contest for an NFL Platinum-style football. It was won by Travis Clark, 17.
-- Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
First-place winners by age category at Punt, Pass and Kick:
• 8-9 boys, Jesse Knight
• 8-9 girls, Makayla Ragnone
• 10-11 boys, Casey Wolfe
• 10-11 girls, no competitors
• 12-13 boys, Dax Jones
• 12-13 girls, Kristalei Wolfe
• 14-15 girls, Kaileen Bachman
• 14-15 boys, Paul Cagle