A 9-year-old Temecula boy has reached the rarified heights of youth sports by qualifying for the NFL’s national Punt, Pass and Kick finals in San Diego next week.
In doing so, Tyler Yoder has emerged from a field of 3.5 million boys and girls – ages 8 through 15 – who annually enter the prestigious skills competition.
"It’s an amazing number," Clare Graff, a National Football League spokeswoman, said in a Tuesday telephone interview.
Tyler and his father, Douglas, are prepping for the trip south and the competition that will unfold Jan. 16 or Jan. 17 when the San Diego Chargers play a yet-to-be-determined foe in their divisional playoff game. Tyler will represent the Chargers as the regional champ in the boys’ 8-9 year old level.
A total of 32 youths representing both sexes and four age groups will compete for the top honors. Prizes include full-size replica NFL helmets that commemorate the national competition. Each youth will be introduced, along with their state and hometown, over the stadium loudspeaker.
The winners will be recognized between the third and fourth quarter of the game, a ceremony that is expected to be televised nationally, Graff said.
"It’ll be an exciting experience," she said. "The kids have a great time."