Every year thousands of kids across the country participate in the National Football League's Punt, Pass and Kick competition.
15 year old Austin Baker is not only one of the best in the state, but one of the best in the country. This Saturday, the Clyde high school freshman is competing in the national finals in Baltimore.
"I'm really excited," Baker said. "I've never flown before so it will be my first time flying and then being down on a playoff game, that's pretty cool too."
The competition takes place Saturday afternoon at the Baltimore Ravens practice facility. Each participant receives two tries at each skill. On Sunday, all participants will take place in a half time passing exhibition during the Texans-Ravens game and first place winners in each age group will be introduced on the field during the 3rd/4th quarter break, which will be aired live on CBS.
In order to reach this stage, Baker won a local contest in Fremont, a regional contest in Tiffin and finally the Team championship in Cleveland. For the latter, he competed at the Browns practice facility and was on the field for half time of the Browns-Ravens game in December. Each NFL team sends a representative to Baltimore, Baker will represent the Browns.
The fact that Baker has gotten this far is no fluke. He's been participating in PPK since he was seven and has been preparing for this year's contest since last January.
"We actually shoveled snow off the football field and got a little patch for him and he was able to kick field goals at that point," said Austin's father Steve. "He's kicked probably a thousand...more than a thousand field goals from January to football season."
The PPK is a family affair for the Baker clan. Austin's brother Matt, 13, and sisters Mackenzie, 10, and Kristin, 7, all compete in the contest. Kristin also qualified for the Tiffin regional.
Austin is a three sport athlete at Clyde. He played freshman football in the fall, is currently on the wrestling team and plans on running track or playing baseball in the spring. He gives plenty of credit for his accomplishments to, not only his family, but his classmates, teammates and coaches as well.
UPDATE: Austin finished in 2nd place in his age group.
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