PITTSBURGH — Nine-year-old Blaise Carney’s been on a football field for so many years, he knows what to expect this Sunday in the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition.
Carney, a fourth-grader at C.G. Johnson Elementary School in Reynoldsville, and son of Doug and Courtney Carney, is among 40 other youngsters taking part in the Pittsburgh Steelers PPK Team Championship Sunday at the Steelers’ training complex in the South Side of Pittsburgh. He’ll compete in the eight-to-nine-year-old boys’ division.
Blaise is also one of three Jefferson County youngsters taking part: Punxsy’s Laney Monroe in the eight-to-nine-year-old girls’ division, and Abby Jo Northey of Brookville in the 10-to-11-year-old girls’ division.
His mom read about the PPK event in the newspaper this summer, and he took ahold of the competition and ran with it, placing first in both the DuBois and Indiana events in his age division.
“We thought he did exceptionally well,” Courtney said. “We were excited.”
That’s not surprising, considering he’s been playing football for about three years as a member of the Oklahoma Tigers in Sandy Township. The facility where the Tigers play, the Sandy Township Recreation Complex, is also where Blaise has been practicing for PPK, as well.
His practice regimen also includes kicking during recess-time football games at school, as well as throwing passes to his two older brothers, Cody, 15, and D.J., 14, who attend DuBois Area High School and play football for the Beavers.
Blaise also practices with his dad in the back yard.
He said he plans to wear his No. 7 Ben Roethlisberger jersey at Sunday’s competition, but admits that his favorite Steeler is actually running back Rashard Mendenhall.