Clare Basil gripped the football tightly as she lifted her head above the cluster of girls dressed in gray who wanted to pull off her flag and girls dressed in blue who tried to protect her.
Only a few seconds were left in the extremely competitive annual flag football Powderpuff game on Saturday, Feb. 6 between upper and lowerclassmen.
Basil, a sophomore quarterback, knew that if someone on her team caught the ball and made a touchdown, the underclassmen would lift their score from one touchdown to tie with the upperclassmen’s two.
As the defense around Basil crumbled, she threw the ball in the hope that it might land in the hands of a teammate. Junior Amy Federer caught it instead.
As Federer clutched the ball until the time ran out, the chances of a victory by the underclassmen dissipated and the upperclassmen’s narrow lead was secured.
“We just got a touchdown, so I was pretty confident,” Federer said. “But at the same time, they can run the field in 10 seconds, so I figured if they catch the ball then they can score a touchdown. I was like, ‘Amy, just hit [the ball], don’t try to catch it. Just stop them [from catching it], because if they catch it, they can run the field,’ so I was like, ‘okay,’ but then I didn’t feel any offense near me and I knew where the ball was going, so I [made sure I] was there at the right time and I caught it.”
Junior tight end Mary Scholz, who scored the two touchdowns that brought her team to a glorious triumph, admitted that her team’s chances were uncertain from the beginning.
“We started out and we didn’t really know where we were going and what we needed to do,” Sholz said. “But we figured it out eventually.”
“I’m proud of these girls because they really worked their hearts out,” underclassman team coach Ryan Thie said. “They wanted to win. I could see it. We just ran out of time. That last interception was killer. You want a big play at the end that gets the win, but it just wasn’t in the cards today.”
When asked if the three practices in preparation for the game were rigorous enough, Basil answered:
“Oh, yeah, definitely. Those warm ups really got me. The training for this game was harder than track practice, honestly. We ran a lot, did a lot of abs. [Thie] pushed us really hard. We might not have had every skill down, but we were —”
“We were definitely the best at the things that required no talent,” Thie interrupted.
“If we could have tackled, we would have pummeled them,” Basil added.
The bloody hand of Lizzie Depew, a senior running back, suggests the game had enough pummeling without any tackles.
Dominic King, her coach, reacted when he observed the wound by saying with a tone of respect and fear:
“Girls are savages.”
“In one of the running plays, there was a big crowd of girls who all just sort of clabbered on to me,” Depew said, describing her injury. “And I looked [at where I felt some pain] and I had a lovely fingernail mark on my hand, and it bled a lot.”
In spite of the savagery, both teams exercised great sportsmanship by kneeling when an injured girl was taken off the field and shaking hands at the end of the game, making the Powderpuff game another Groundhog tradition well played.