With all 32 NFL teams reporting results, the Arizona Cardinals' representative in the National Punt, Pass and Kick contest, Derek Knotek, holds the No. 1 ranking in the 10/11-year-old category. That means he will return to the National Finals next month. He placed second at Nationals in January of this year as a 9-year-old.
Derek's family lives in Prescott, where his dad, Jeff, is a member of the Prescott Fire Department. Derek now is a fifth-grader at Granite Mountain Middle School, but through fourth-grade, he attended Mountain View Elementary in Prescott Valley, where his mother, Staci, teaches music. (Many in the Humboldt School District know her from her years teaching second and third grade and Title I.)
Derek also serves as a "ball boy" for the Bradshaw Mountain High varsity football team's home games.
Derek's total of 306 feet, 10 inches is nearly 10 feet longer than the No. 2-ranked competitor in the PPK.
He looks forward to seeing a couple of friends he made at this past year's national competition, who also qualified again.
"It will be like old home week," said his dad.
Typically, the National PPK takes place at an AFC second round playoff game. Jeff is guessing mid January at the Indianapolis Colts' new stadium.