Call it Dueling Footsies. Or the 40 Yards War. Coming straight at you, wearing five socks and a grim expression, is the aging champion, Mark Moseley.

Moseley treats his leg as if it were a gun, and just now he is tapping it against a brick wall and saying: "It's loaded. All I've got to do is pull the trigger."

Driving hard from the side is the young and cocky challenger, Tony Zendejas, whom the Redskins have given $150,000 to either kick Moseley off the team or into a supernatural season.

Interest here has been staggering. Normally, you couldn't get a real football player to watch kickers compete without offering to renegotiate his contract under the goalpost.

Everybody was at full-dress attention for Round One Wednesday evening. Most of the team had formed a pad-to-pad semicircle near the action when Wayne Sevier, the special teams coach, signaled:

Gentlemen, start your insteps.

"Popcorn, getcha popcorn," Pete Cronan bellowed.

When Moseley nailed one strong and true, Russ Grimm could be heard yelling: "40-love."

Zendejas was equally efficient, and Grimm announced: "40-15."

And so on.

"I've never seen anything closer to a game situation," Sevier said.

He meant pressure beyond the obvious. Distractions. Loud and naughty talk within spitting distance, same as there will be against the Cowboys and every other regular-season opponent.

So spirited is the battle that the public relations director, Charlie Taylor, devised a Tale of the Tape. It includes, and concludes:

Moseley has the edge in "reach," his longest field goal being 54 yards to 52 for Zendejas; Moseley has more "TKO's" -- or four game-winning kicks the last two years to three.

Each has the same helmet size (7 1/2). Moseley is the only kicker to be judged the most valuable player in the NFL. Zendejas is the only kicker to make player of the week in the USFL.

Just guessing, but this may be the first fight in which the champ had to score a clear knockout. At 25, Zendejas is 12 years younger.

After Rounds One and Two, Moseley clearly is ahead on points. He was 11 for 16 at distances ranging from 37 to 50 yards Wednesday and 12 for 15 from 35 through 52 yards Thursday.

Zendejas was nine for 16 the first day and 11 for 15 the second. Although accuracy is supposed to be his strength, Zendejas has been better on the longer kicks.

Their contrasts are obvious on more than age and experience. Moseley is an NFL dinosaur, the last of the straight-ahead kickers. Zendejas is a confirmed sidewinder.

Moseley's kicking shoe is white. Zendejas' is black. Moseley weighs 208 pounds, and looks strong enough to frighten the ball into staying on course. Zendejas is 166 pounds.

Both have the sort of cocksure attitude successful kickers need in abundance.

Zendejas has said his goal is to be all-pro his first season, adding: "I think I can pretty much dictate what happens by how I do."

Moseley's idea of a good time is the Redskins behind by two points with one second left in a playoff, snow falling and the ball wet and 30 yards from the end zone.

"Oh, is it time for me to win another one?" his attitude suggests. "There've been so many, you know. Go ice the beer; this won't take long."

Redskins fans surely are wondering why all the panic over challenging Moseley. After all, he's been close to flawless with the game on the line for several years -- and hasn't even tipped a bar stool lately, let alone fallen off one.

Rooting against Moseley is like selling the cat that has kept the barn free of mice for what seems an eternity, just because he's supposed to be less nimble. George Blanda kicked till he was 114, didn't he?

Hey, Coach Joe Gibbs counters, nearly everybody in every job in the country has someone pushing him. No matter how successful he's been.

"It's that way for Pete Cronan every year," Gibbs said. "(Competition) brings out the best in everybody."

"The last time Mark had competition (in training camp)," said Sevier, referring to 1982, "he had the best year a kicker ever had in the NFL."

They're both exceptional. No way the Redskins can be buried on this kick-off. Besides, whoever fails very likely can be dealt for a decent player or draft choice.

Which leads to the question: why shouldn't this competition end as quickly as possible? That would seem in the best interests of everyone, the Redskins having maximum leverage in a trade and the loser more time to adjust to his new surroundings.

Sevier shook his head.

"I see it going through the last preseason game," he said. "If teams are unhappy with their kicker, they'll take a quality one whenever he becomes available."

In each preseason game, they will alternate on field goals and extra points, Sevier said. Incumbent Moseley will be given first whack at each in the Aug. 10 opener at Atlanta.

"Whoever wins will be as ready for the season as anyone can possibly be," Sevier insists. "He'll be concentrating on every kick. I'm not saying he won't miss at times, but he'll be the best prepared he can be.

"You can't ask for a better situation."