Powder Puff 2017 “W” Goes to the Seniors
On Tuesday, November 21st, Marian High School held its annual Powder Puff game. The annual Powder Puff game is played between the senior girls and the junior girls with a modified field layout. Held again at Framingham State University, the game felt official and students, parents, and teachers alike came out to support the junior and senior girls.
The warm weather was unprecedented from previous years, as Powder Puff is known for its frequently frigid temperatures. Despite the warmer temperature, the afternoon was still quite cold; the cold afternoon forced the players on both teams to fight hard for every yard. Both teams played with extreme tenacity and effort, making some phenomenal plays. But, at the end of the game, the current seniors came out on top for their second consecutive win (1-0 as juniors, and now 2-0 as seniors), sporting the illustrious undefeated record of 2-0. With the final score being 6-0 in favor of the seniors, the game was very close until the end. Despite some missed calls and a total expulsion of the score in the middle of the third quarter, both teams continued to play to the best of their ability.
The normal first quarter jitters did not affect the juniors’ high-tempo offense at all, as running backs Lia Brossi and Hannah Grupposo led the juniors down to the 20 yard-line. The juniors racked up ten plays throughout their first possession until the seniors’ defense forced a crucial fumble to gain momentum; senior Kene Offiah took advantage of the gaps in the juniors’ offensive line and blitzed the junior quarterback, Sophie Moise, and forced this turnover and touchdown return. This first quarter touchdown would later be called back in the third quarter after a controversial coach’s meeting, evening the score back to zero. The juniors regained possession after this nulled scoring fumble return, answering back at the seniors’ defense with six consecutive rushing plays before facing a crucial fourth down at the seniors’ thirty yard line. Setting up for a pass play over center, junior quarterback Sophie Moise threw a tight spiral to her running back/wide-out, Lia Brossi, that flew just over the anticipated target and was intercepted by senior strong safety Rachel Krueger. Transitioning to the seniors’ high-powered offense, the first offensive possession for the seniors definitely did not disappoint, as the offense pushed forward play by play.
With a mix of pass and rush plays, the seniors’ offense made its way down to the red-zone before ultimately turning the ball over on a failed fourth-down conversion and interception by junior cornerback Hannah Grupposo. Relying on their efficient run game, the juniors ran four consecutive power-o run plays to earn a much earned first down. Realizing the juniors’ apparent dependence on their running backs, the senior defense began to blitz. Throughout the duration of the game, the seniors’ defensive-line ate away at the juniors’ offensive-line, successfully forcing two dropped snaps in a row. Senior pass-rusher Audrey Burnham managed to get to the juniors’ quarterback throughout the entire game; she forced two broken plays during this crucial offensive possession for the juniors and ultimately allowed the seniors’ secondary to ease up on man-to-man coverage. The juniors, faced with a critical fourth-down, were not able to convert after a dropped pass. Back with possession of the ball, the seniors once again marched down the field. With curl-route catches by both strong-side wide receivers, Rosa Ruiz and Mikayla Bozyczko, the seniors converted on back-to-back downs. A dropped snap, despite the consistent snapping of senior center Maeve Walsh, forced senior running back Kene Offiah to get caught up behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. Followed by a turnover on downs, the next play gained six yards off of blocking from senior right guard Kristina Morreale. Before half-time, the juniors regained possession off of another interception by Hannah Grupposo from a catch intended for a senior wide-out.
At halftime, both teams gathered together to discuss the events of the past half and to develop possible play-making improvements for the rest of the game. During halftime, senior wide receiver and defensive tackle, Mikayla Bozyczko, expressed her gratefulness to be able to play in the annual Powder Puff game saying, “the Powder Puff game is my favorite Marian activity, [because] everyone gets so into it and it is a great way to bond with your class!” After regaining their energy during halftime, both teams jogged back out onto the field to start the final half of football.
With offensive possession to start the third quarter, the seniors lined up against a junior defensive line determined to make some plays. Fighting the aggressiveness of the junior linemen, the senior offensive linemen were able to create gaps, through which running back Kene Offiah ran for gains. With a strong offensive line led by seniors Kristina Morreale, Sofia Antonellis, Maeve Walsh, and substitutes Claire Hanlon and Rua McGarry, the seniors were able to convert off of two pass plays enabled by the grit of their offensive line. Juniors Sophie Moise, Rachel Hansen, and Bella Callery, were constantly attacking the senior offensive linemen, getting to the pocket many times to force poor passes. At this point, the coaches met up to discuss the score and returned to their respective teams to deliver the news that the seniors’ previous score off of a forced fumble would not count. Arguing that there is no defensive scoring in Powder Puff, the adamant junior assistant coach, Chuks Offiah, successfully supported his challenge with the help of the other junior coaches. Annoyed by this scoring call, the seniors’ offense began to gain momentum until consecutive failed conversions as a result of the constant pressure from the juniors’ defensive front. Facing constant pressure, senior quarterback Rachel Krueger forced various passes to covered receivers, resulting in a turnover on downs.
With the ball back to start the fourth quarter, the juniors ate away at the senior defense by mixing up their play call with the addition of multiple passing plays. Caught off guard at first, the senior defense gave up big yardage after noticeable and initially intended position changes. The juniors’ offensive stint would end with an interception by senior corner Rosa Ruiz off of a pass to junior Lia Brossi. The defensive statistics racked up by both teams during the game are outstanding and really speak to the strength of both teams’ defensive focus. Back with the ball, the seniors struggled to gain yardage as a result of the continuous blitzing by the juniors. Despite this, receiver Mikayla Bozyczko gained yardage for the seniors off of a left sweep, followed by another gain by senior receiver Rosa Ruiz. Senior quarterback Rachel Krueger, forced to roll out of the pocket, could not manage to target the senior wide receivers on the left: Elizabeth Bishop, Makayla Allia, and Grace Muldoon. Throwing her final pick of the game (3 in total), Rachel Krueger evaded a tackle in the backfield for a loss by throwing the ball out of reach of the intended senior receiver. Junior safety Athena Katsiaunis, reading the seniors’ offensive position, picked off the ball from the intended receiver. With five minutes remaining in the game, both teams tried to score off of promising drives; the juniors led by Adriana Provetti (12 yards gained), Hannah Grupposo (23-yard run stopped short at the 4), and Brooke Sparling (offensive-line), while the seniors’ failed drives did not earn sufficient yardage. The final few minutes of the game were stressful, to say the least.
This year’s Powder Puff game came down to the final drive led by the seniors’ high-powered offense. The final drive began with a run by Kene Offiah for a loss of 2 yards off of a pitch-play. On second down with twelve yards to go, Rachel Krueger, forced to leave the pocket, scrambled to the right and managed to throw up a lob before being touched by Sophie Mosie. The ball, lobbed up into a crowd of three pink shirts and one black shirt, ended up in the hands of Mikayla Bozyczko. This catch was definitely the biggest of the game, for it set up the senior offense for a red-zone attack and, of course, gained 30 yards. With all four receivers lined up on the right, the seniors made it look like the ball was going to the right through the use of hand-motions and pre-snap calls. As a result, the juniors on defense did not notice the amount of green open to the left and the seniors took full advantage. Maeve Walsh snapped the ball in a shotgun formation in an effort to elude to a pass play and Rachel Krueger ran the ball from the snap into the endzone, untouched. The up-and-down game ended with that score and the seniors were able to protect their title of Powder Puff champions in back-to-back years. Overall, the game was played until the end on both sides of the ball and by both teams. The sportsmanship demonstrated throughout the game really reinforced the friendly environment of the game, making the game fun for everyone in attendance.
After the game, both teams celebrated and shook each other’s hands out of respect. Senior Krystal Alvarez noted the importance of the Powder Puff game after the game: “All of us seniors are happy to be able to keep our name of Powderpuff champs for a second year.” Despite the strong play calling and vicious defense of the juniors, the seniors managed to pull away to end the game with six points on the board. Although not a high scoring game by any means, this year’s Powder Puff game score represents the balanced ability of each team and the preparation leading into the game. Congratulations to the Class of 2018 on winning Powder Puff this year! And a special thanks to the referee(s) and senior coaches, Aidan Scamby, Ryan Sistrand, Liam Flaherty, and Ryan Gasparro. Now, the seniors pass the pigskin to the current sophomores and juniors and, along with it, the pride of Marian Powder Puff.
-Rachel K., ’18