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By Fran Maye
Kennett Middle School will field its first football team this Wednesday, Sept. 19, when the Blue Demons take on Peirce Middle School.
Earlier this year, Kennett school directors approved a football program for the middle school with one caveat it must have no financial impact on taxpayers. With a $5,000 contribution from the Kennett Athletic Boosters, and other fund-raisers staged throughout the year, the funds were raised. All coaches are volunteers.
Weve got a great outpouring from the community for Middle School football, said Mark Beeson, who will coach the team. Its going to be neat to watch this evolve. I am proud to be involved with it.
There are 37 players on the 8th grade team and 34 on the 7th grade team. Cost is $185 per player, and includes costs for busing and referees.
Were treating this as a pay to play program, certainly for the first year, Beeson said. I dont know if (pay to play) will be ongoing, but we have plenty of fundraisers lined up.
One of those fund-raisers is called Be Driven, a running event set for Sunday, Sept. 30 at 9 a.m. at Anson B. Nixon Park. There will be a 5K fun Run and a 1-mile fun run. It is being held in honor of former Kennett Middle School bus driver Jay Middleton, who died recently. Middleton, who drove bus 58, was a huge Kennett football supporter. All proceeds from the run will go to support next years Kennett Middle football program.
I feel schools that builkd traditions have kids look up to the football players as leaders, Beecon said. I plan to get this up and running and continue it every year. The kids will be using the varsity locker rooms and will feel like they are big shots.
The middle schoolers will run the same offense and defense as the Kennett varsity team. The team will practice every day at the high school and will use the Kennett athletic complex for home games. Other volunteer coaches include Marcus Mannino and Kevin Porter.
Sept. 19 Peirce Middle Home
Sept. 26 Penns Grove Middle Away
Oct. 3 Scott Middle Away
Oct. 10 Scott Middle Away
Oct. 17 Patton Middle Away
Oct. 24 Downingtown Middle Home
Nov. 7 Chichester Middle Home