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Football players invade Koontz for day of fun

The Football Frenzy took over Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Elementary School Oct. 11 as students played in football and powderpuff games with special guests from the Catawba College and Carson High School football teams.
Two Koontz students from each grade were chosen to play football or powderpuff football based on good behavior — safety, responsibility, respect and problem-solving — for several weeks. Students also were chosen based on behavior to be cheerleaders or perform Zumba with the Fit Club, which promotes physical activity.
All Koontz students who met positive behavior benchmarks watched the games outside with their teachers.
Members of the Catawba football team led by Coach Curtis Walker served as referees. Koontz students were in awe of the players, “who were absolutely massive in comparison with our first-graders,” Koontz principal Mary Hemphill said.
Koontz students cheered as the Carson Cougars drove onto campus with Coach Joe Pinyan. Each Carson player was assigned to a class to interact with students during the Football Frenzy.
Both the college and high school players made a big impact, Hemphill said.
“Not only were all the players positive and welcoming, but they were eager to interact with our young Panthers,” she said. “Even the kindergartners — who were too little to play, so we created an obstacle course for them — were in awe of those bright smiles from your players.”
Hemphill told the coaches their players made sure the Panthers had a positive and realistic outlook on what it means to be a student-athlete.
Mackie Gallagher, of West Rowan High School, served as announcer for the event and kept the crowd entertained, Hemphill said. Gallagher’s mother, Joan Gallagher, is a teacher at Koontz. His father, the late Ronnie Gallagher, was the longtime sports editor of the Salisbury Post.

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