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Youths to "play' at Tampa Stadium

The typical response to a great football performance is generally: "I'm going to Disney World." But last weekend it was more like, "I'm going to Tampa Stadium."

Three local participants in the Gatorade Punt, Pass and Kick contest won their respective age divisions and will get a chance to compete Dec. 11 on the very field that will be shared that day by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams.

John Humbert, 9, of Brooksville, and Spring Hill's Nick DuPrey, 14, and Mike Vamos, 15, each accumulated the most points at Saturday's regional qualifier at Whispering Pines Park. They will attempt to move on even further against other regional winners from around the state at Tampa Stadium. Winners there advance to national competition at an AFC playoff game yet to be determined.

Flag football: Speaking of football, the YMCA Flag Football League for players ages 10-13 started this past week, and all coaches are encouarged to call in their scores and statistics. The lone result from last week saw the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Giants 16-6 on Friday. Jeff Hill returned the opening kickoff 60 yards for a touchdown and had a 55-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Kenny Hill, who also had three interceptions on defense.

Basketball program: Greg O'Connell's weekly basketball program tips off Saturday at Springstead High School, where he is the boys varsity coach.

The program will run every Saturday until Dec. 10 for boys in grades 3 through 8. It starts at 10 a.m. and will run to 12:30 p.m. Registration will be Oct. 22 from 8:30-10 a.m.

More basketball: The basketball division of the Hernando Youth League will be holding sign-ups for boys and girls ages 8-16 at the new Hernando High gym on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional sign-ups will be on Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 from 3-4 p.m.

The cost is $30 a player, with a reduced fee for more than one player from each family. Coaches are needed. If interested, please call Debbie Otis at 799-3933.

Tennis anyone? The American Heart Association Brooksville Open will be held Nov. 18-20, with a variety of divisions for younger players.

There will be boys and girls brackets for high school, middle school and grade school participants, and two junior mixed double events for grades 3-12 (Division I) and grades 3-8 (Division II).

Juniors may not play in adult competition except for the open division. The entry fee is $20 for the first event, and $30 for two, if the fee is prepaid. Same-day registration is $25 and $40. The deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 16.

T-shirts and balls will be provided, and the tourney will be held on 15 hard courts throughout the city. The headquarters will be at Bud McKethan Park. For more information, call 799-8999.

Softball and hockey sign-ups: The YMCA is taking registration for girls softball and youth hockey.

Softball registration is $22 per player, and is for girls ages 8-14. This is a games-only league, with games played at the YMCA on Saturday mornings starting at 11 a.m.

Youth hockey games will be played Tuesday evenings starting at 5:45, 6:45, and 7:45 p.m. Players must have a helmet and stick, and must be a YMCA program member. The cost is $30 per player.

To report information on Hernando County youth sports news, including youth football results, call John C. Cotey at 1-800-333-7505 (ext. 6237) Mondays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or fax information to 754-6133. Be sure to include telephone number on faxed information.