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For the Fans

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Connersville senior Shane McClain gets a pie in the face from CHS head football coach Adam Kelly at Saturday’s Fan Fest event, held inside the Connersville High School football stadium. A pie ‘raffle’ was held to determine which CHS player or coach would be forced to take the pie. McClain won, or lost the raffle, depending on the point of view.
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Connersville first-grader Grayson Frasher (17) receives a welcome onto the CHS football field from the Connersville High School players, Saturday at the annual Fan Fest celebration.
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The Connersville High School football team runs a play in the Red vs. White scrimmage, Saturday at the 2018 Fan Fest event inside the Connersville High School football stadium.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

One by one, every football player in Connersville got to hear his or her name announced over the loudspeaker, floating high over the Connersville High School football field.

Then, they got to mix it up on the field, in front of family and friends.

Saturday’s Fan Fest at the CHS stadium went about the business of getting fans introduced to gridiron rosters, from first grade all the way to high school.

And business was good, both over the loudspeaker and on the field.

“Everything went very well at the event,” Connersville High School head coach Adam Kelly said. “We saw a lot of good things at all grade levels, and obviously found some things that we still need to work on.”

Kelly’s charges were first on the field, spending 40 minutes facing off with one another in the annual intra-squad Red vs. White game.

“We have some spots on both sides of the ball that are still up for grabs right now, so that motivated a lot of our kids throughout the scrimmage,” Kelly said of the high school gridders. “We want to create and foster that kind of competition on the team, so I was very pleased to see that on Saturday.”

Offensively, the Spartans showed that they had some big-play potential.

“We did have some good plays on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said. “We also had some missed opportunities, but a lot of that was assignment issues, things we can fix.”

On the defensive side of the football, Kelly said expectations were met in certain areas, and surpassed in others.

“Our linebackers are really a solid group, and they showed some of that,” he said.

“In the secondary, we have a lot of very young players that are still learning. In spite of that, I thought they did pretty well.”

The youth football program took center stage next, beginning with the first- and second-grade units.

“I thought the younger kids did an awesome job,” Kelly said. “It’s always so much fun to watch the younger kids go at it.”

Asked if there was anything that grabbed him, watching the younger units on the field, Kelly didn’t hesitate.

“Honestly, I thought the offensive units for each group was really good,” he said. “The other thing I noticed was that the defenses were running (high school) defensive sets, so I was really encouraged by that.”

He also noted that many of the players were taking the scrimmages serious, another positive.

“I saw frustration on some of the kids’ faces when they didn’t live up to their own expectation on a play here or there,” Kelly said. “That’s makes me feel very good that it means that much to them.”

For the most part, however, it was just fun to run onto the field, helmets shining in the sun, and play some football, Kelly added.

“I saw a lot of smiling faces, which is the way it’s supposed to be. Football is fun,” he said. “As far as I could tell, the kids had a good time. This whole day is a credit to the Connersville Youth Football board and the Connersville Quarterback Club, both groups doing a great job putting this event together for the kids and the fans.”

Connersville High School entertains Monrovia on Friday night for a scrimmage, the last live action for the team prior to its season-opener one week later on Friday, Aug. 17.