Juniors, seniors preparing for return of powder puff

The seventh annual homecoming powder puff game slated for Oct. 3 at the Holmes Junior High football field will once again ignite the flame in homecoming spirit as the town comes together to watch the junior and senior girls compete in the flag football contest. 

Originating many years ago, juniors and seniors would come together on their own and play contact football. Since then, the past seven years the school has officially promoted powder puff in a safer way. “The administration collectively came together and decided to provide an opportunity for the girls to play flag football under the stadium and under the lights to make it a bigger event,” athletic director Troy Becker said. 

Seniors practice occasionally on Wednesdays, but typically on Sundays in the morning. Each practice is usually 45 minutes long. Juniors practice whenever the players’ schedules accommodate each other. 

The practices are both difficult and fun, according to senior Morgan Linck. She said that she decided to play because it will be a great senior experience that she gets to look back on after she graduates. “The coaches were very informative and helped the players get to run some routes and get prepared for what the game will be like,” Linck said.

With about 30 senior girls playing in the powder puff game, the student coaches must work extra hard to gain victory. Senior Ryley Barnett, who helps coach the girls, said the coaches let the girls choose if they wanted to play offense or defense. They make adjustments to the team after observing how the girls performed. 

“We do a lot of drills to see what the girls are good at,” Barnett said. He also said the rest of the coaches, Trey Campbell, Hunter Jacobson and Caeden Janssen try to make the practices fun and enjoyable without too much competition. 

As the referee tosses the shiny coin determining which team gets the first choice into the air, the ball will likely glide into the hands of junior Jaden Hutchins, “I decided to play because it’s a fun experience. I thought it would be a good idea, so I don’t injure myself during the season,” Hutchins said. 

Volleyball players, like Hutchins, were originally not allowed to play due to the risk of injuries. The volleyball players were threatened to be benched if they participated in powder puff. However, that sanction was soon dismissed once coaches discovered there was no tackling involved. 

Penalties include tackling, clipping, hurdling or tripping other players. Guarding the flag and ball is also illegal in powder puff. The laid back rules inevitably make the game less competitive and more fun to watch.

There is a half time in between both 25 minute halves. Teams will switch sides after halftime, where families and spectators can walk around and get concessions. The tournament is free to watch and is encouraged by the school to come. “I would say close to 300-400 students come to watch the powder puff games. Obviously, it varies, but it gets bigger each year,” Becker said. 

Although powder puff is offered to both juniors and seniors, this year will be the seniors’ first year playing due to COVID restrictions last year. However, this year there will be no restrictions.

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