Passing no problem for 11-year-old football finalist

Rocklin youth takes part in 49er half-time exhibition
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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For a family of football fans, the Sakkabs of Rocklin had an experience of a lifetime. Their 11-year-old son, Sam Sakkab, showed off his punt, pass and kick skills to thousands of others at the Nov. 16 San Francisco 49ers game. He was one of seven youth selected from more than 700 others to compete in the Sacramento region Pepsi Punt, Pass & Kick competition during the game’s halftime show, his mother Rana Sakkab said. From there, he was one of five that went on to compete in his age bracket consisting of 10- to 11-year-olds. Each had the opportunity to punt, pass and kick the football across the Monster Park field in San Francisco. The scores were then added up for the total distance, which determined the winner. Although his punt only reached seven feet, he made up for it in his 107-feet pass – flying over the receiver’s head and passing the furthest in his age group, Rana said. His kick reached approximately 80 feet. But even though Sam came in fifth for his age group at that event, his qualifying events showed he has strong skills and promise in football. Sam plays flag football for the Breen Giants through the city of Rocklin’s NFL Football League and was top within his team for the PPK competition. From his team, he was chosen to represent the 10 Rocklin teams, each with approximately nine players. From there, Sam went on to the Sacramento regional, competing against others in cities locally, such as Roseville, where he went on to place as one of five competing for distance at the 49ers game. Even through Sam said he was disappointed with his PPK attempt during the half time, Rana said he came off the field showing excitement. “I was just taking in the moment,” Rana said he told her. In addition to a free T-shirt and tickets to the 49ers game, Sam’s name was spoken over the loudspeaker and his photo was pictured on the big screens. “It was just a nice feeling,” Rana said. Sam has been playing football since he was 7 years old, mostly as a position that thrives on his pass. “He’s a big kid and he’s got a good arm,” Rana said. “Sam mostly plays quarterback.” “As a starter,” Sam modestly added. Rana said she believes this will be something Sam looks back on, years from now, remembering his once in a lifetime ride. But being a sixth-grader at Breen Elementary, it’s hard to look that far ahead, but Sam admits it was an experience. “It was cool,” he said simply.