At Central High School, the best way to kick off a great Homecoming spirit week is with the Powder Puff football game. Every year, the junior and senior girls each make a team to compete against each other on the Sunday before Homecoming. Currently, the seniors are on a “winning streak,” but this year’s juniors could be giving them a run for their money.
Powder Puff football started becoming popular in the early 1970s. Girls started the tradition because almost no schools had varsity girls’ football teams. Many schools across the country participate in this annually as a way to boost school spirit before big football games. On Sunday, September 14th at McKinley Field, Maroons of all ages will be watching as the junior and senior girls battle it out, coached by some of the football players.
This year, the junior coaches are Matt Brown (head coach), Josh Caughey, Bradley Dee, Carr Hess, Jack Tufte, and Nick Walker (assistant coaches). The team is made up of many Central athletes. After just one practice, the juniors already have several stand outs, including: Maddie McMahon (volleyball) as one of the team’s quarterbacks and Izzy Rossi (track) and Desirae Shirley (cheerleading, cross-country, track) as running backs. The offense already has a book full of plays and will have no trouble scoring touchdowns. The junior girls also have a quick, hard-hitting defense that is sure to knock the seniors off their feet — literally and figuratively.
The class of 2015 also has a stacked team. Payton Stillman is a three-sport athlete (swimming & diving, basketball, track) and was a key player and leader for the team last year. Other returning player include: Scoyoniah Bowdry (basketball, softball), who was the team’s blocker, and Jennifer Galbreath (cheerleading) as their fastest wide receiver. Imani Maatuka (tennis, basketball, softball) also made many interceptions for the current senior class. The senior coaches are Montrel Moore, Grant Semonin, Jamal Stovall (assistants), and head coach Josh Bagger.
Another leader for the team, Laura Vendal (tennis, soccer), says that the seniors’ “hatred for underclassmen” will help them win the game. I asked senior Virtuous Thomas (volleyball) if she thought the juniors stood a chance at winning and she said, “Heck naw! The seniors will always win because it’s our year to be on top!”
It is a tradition for the senior girls to win, but each year there have been accusations of cheating and unfair calls in the seniors’ favor. During last year’s game, Maatuka scored what would have been a game-tying touchdown without much time left in the game. However, the officials made a controversial offsides call, giving the seniors the win.
Even if the seniors do cheat, they may have a difficult time defeating this year’s juniors. Central volleyball player and junior class Vice President Kelley McDonald says, “I think we can ‘win.’ But, as tradition goes, the seniors will always win.” Last year, the seniors emerged victorious with a score of 21-14 and the score will probably be very similar for this game. They may get a little help, but that is all right. It is just a little friendly competition to get students fired up for a fun week.