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Gridiron gains

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Connersville 7th-grader Elijah Brunell, left, practices a blocking technique against eighth-grader Aiden Wood, Tuesday night on the opening night of the CMS football camp.
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Seventh-grader Eric Fox focuses on grabbing a pass on the first day of the Connersville MIddle School football camp, held Tuesday evening on the practice field at Connersville High School. Tonight is the final day of the three-day camp.
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Connersville Middle School eighth-grader Caleb Caldwellthrows a pass Tuesday eveningduringthe first day of work at the CMS football camp at Connersville High School. The camp will concluded tonight at the CHS practice field.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

The numbers might not have been where they should have been, but on the first night of the 2019 Connersville Middle School football camp, those in attendance got plenty of one-on-one attention.

The kids were broken into small groups on Tuesday, as coaches spent time working on offense with the kids.

“It was a great opportunity for the guys that were here to get in a lot of individual skill work,” Connersville High School head football coach Adam Kelly said, following the two-hour practice. “We worked with them on a lot of technique, and at the end, we were able to put together a skeleton crew and go through some of our basic plays.

“I believe that those who were here really got something out of it.”

Camp attendees spent their time blocking on the offensive line, going through passing fundamentals, and learning the techniques of running passing routes.

“The philosophy during the summer is to do a lot of individual work, focusing on technique through camps and clinics,” Kelly said. “During this time, you’re looking at yourself a little bit more. You’re more focused on making yourself a better player.

“That’s why the summer is so important. It’s the time needed to work out those bad habits and improve individually, so that when you hit August, you can focus more on the Xs and Os, schemes, conditioning, and those sorts of things.”

With the smaller number of campers, coaches spent more time working with the players individually, something that the kids really seemed to enjoy.

“I like that the coacheswere spending time with each one of us, telling us how to play and what football is about,” Connersville Middle School seventh-grader Eric Fox said. “Attending this camp was a good way to get me outside.”

Fox said that the attitude of those at the camp helped make it go easy as well.

“The players were nice, and the coaches didn’t get on you too much,” he said with a smile.

Foxadded that attending the camp was important to him.

“I’ve been playing football for a couple of years now, and I know that the more you practice, the better you’re going to be,” he said. “That’s the biggest reason I am here, I want to get better.”

While Fox might have had some football experience backing him up, that was not the case for everyone in attendance.

“There were a couple players here tonight that were first-year football players, but they had basic coordination skills,” coach Kelly said. “When a kid has that, we can turn them into a relatively decent football player.

“I was justhappy to see allthe enthusiasm and potential that these kids showed tonight.”

Thecamp is slated to run three days, with tonight serving as the final day.

“We worked on the offense a little on Tuesday, then switched gears to defense on Wednesday night,” Kelly said. “Tonight, we’re going to split it up. We’re going to work on both offense and defense, then we’ll do some drills that are a little more fun for the kids.”

Kids (both seventh- and eight-grade) who missed the first two nights of the camp are still welcome to attend tonight’s two-hour session, from 6-8 p.m. at the CHS practice field.

Both the seventh- and eighth-grade teams opentheir respectiveseasons on Thursday, Aug. 15 at Greensburg Middle School.

The seventh-grade game is set for a 5:30 p.m. kick-off, with the eighth-graders following at 6:30 p.m.