Whigham advances to Falcons#039; championship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

Paul Whigham Jr. lined up his punt, put his toe into it, the ball finally turned over to travel 54 feet, 3 inches.

It wasn't one of Whigham's better efforts, but it was good enough to qualify him for the National Football League Punt, Pass and Kick team championship in Atlanta this Sunday.

&#8220That wasn't a very good kick, and the wind had a lot to do with it,” Whigham said. &#8220But I won't have to worry about the wind on Sunday.”

Whigham, 14, is one of three children from the Dothan sectional to qualify for the Atlanta Falcons team championship, which will be held Sunday morning in the Georgia Dome prior to the Falcons' game with Tampa Bay.

Whigham advanced to the Dothan sectional after having been the only competitor in the local competition.

This marked the third time Whigham has advanced to a Dothan sectional. He had qualified twice in the Pepsi Pitch, Hit and Run competition.

&#8220I knew that I had won the (football) competition the day of the event, but I didn't find out that I would be going to Atlanta until about two weeks later,” Whigham said.

He will compete with four other boys in his age group on Sunday. The boys are from Hanceville, Bogart, Ga., Rome, Ga., and Rincon, Ga.

Whigham won the Dothan sectional with 308.8 points, which would place him third among the four other competitors headed for Atlanta.

Whigham plays football at Fort Dale Academy. He was apart of the junior varsity program until three weeks ago when he was promoted to the varsity. So he has had little time to prepare for Sunday's competition since Fort Dale's football season ended late Friday night.

In addition to competing for the Falcons' team championship and the right to compete at an NFC playoff site in January, Whigham will be guests of the Falcons to see Sunday's game.

&#8220I have never been to the Georgia Dome much less see a pro game live,” he said. &#8220I can't wait to see (Carnell) Cadillac Williams play for Tampa.”