Decatur’s Sophie Page wins Punt, Pass and Kick event in Atlanta
By Mark Edwards
The Atlanta Falcons had a good day at the Georgia Dome, and so did 8-year-old Decatur resident Sophie Page.
Competing in the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick competition before the Falcons’ 20-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Page won the girls’ 8- and 9-year-old division with a combined distance of 136 feet.
Competitors are judged not only on distance but accuracy as well — for example, if someone tosses a football 100 feet but it lands 30 feet from the measuring tape, that person gets a score of 70 feet.
Sophie is a third-grader at Leon Sheffield Elementary and the daughter of Steve and Cheri Page.
“It was an exciting day for her,” Steve said Sunday night. “When we got home, she was worn out.”
Sophie had to win preliminary competitions at Leon Sheffield and Palmer Park in Madison to make it to Atlanta. She does not know yet if she’ll advance again.
Only four competitors in each age group will make it to the national finals. All 32 NFL teams host preliminary competitions, and the top four first-place finishers will move on. The final preliminary events are Dec. 16 in St. Louis and New Orleans.
After that, Sophie will wait for a letter from the NFL.
“That’s the same as it was after she competed at Palmer Park,” Steve said. “We had to wait for a letter.”
He said it came Wednesday by express delivery, along with three tickets to the game, which included one for her.
Steve found four more tickets on the Internet, so Sophie was able to attend with her father, her mother, her brother and three family friends.
“Getting the letter was exciting for her, especially because it was addressed to her,” Steve said. “The package was waiting for us when we got home.”
Sophie competed on the Georgia Dome turf in the morning, several hours before the game. However, she still got to be on the field for pregame warmups, perform in an exhibition between the first and second quarters and announced as a winner between the third and fourth quarters.
“They showed her on the jumbo screen there and said her name,” Steve said. “It was exciting for us.”
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