COVID-19 prevents seniors from participating in annual Powderpuff game

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Credit: Sammy Johnson

Senior Kayla Poulsen sprints down the field towards the endzone during the 2019 Powderpuff game. Her teammates follow behind her as her coaches cheer her on from the sidelines. “I’m really upset that we weren’t able to have the Powderpuff game this fall because of COVID,” senior football captain Matt Morris said. “I’m just hoping we get to have more events during the spring.”

The Powderpuff flag football game is a tradition that has been going on for many years to kick off the Thanksgiving break. The Wayland senior girls play the Weston girls, with both teams coached by their senior football players. With COVID-19 cases beginning to rise again, and the football season being pushed to February, it wasn’t a surprise that the game was canceled.

“It’s really unfortunate that we don’t even get half the senior events compared to last year,” senior Olivia Kennedy said. “Especially because we have been waiting ever since we were freshmen.”

The Powderpuff game is not only an exciting time for many of the girls learning how to play football, but it is also an experience that many of the senior football players also look forward to because they get to coach and teach the girls the plays and logistics of football.

“I was looking forward to practices and trying to see how hard it is from the coaching perspective of football,” senior football captain Matt Morris said. “We’ve always been coached in football and never really had opportunities to use what we have learned to teach others so I was really excited for that.”

Since some girls don’t know as much about football as the actual players, the senior football players have usually started practices for Powderpuff months in advance. At practices, the girls are taught different plays, what routes to run, the general rules and much more.

“I was really excited for the boys teaching all of us girls the plays and the rules of the game since many of us don’t fully know,” Kennedy said. “Also, of course, [I was excited] to beat Weston.”

With the football season being pushed back to start in February, seniors are hoping for the possibility of having the Powderpuff game rescheduled to the spring. Senior football captains Matt Morris, Nick Dresens, and Shane DeRubeis have talked with head coach Scott Parseghian about rescheduling the game to after the football season ends.

“I have not heard any new information about Powderpuff getting rescheduled,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully it will get pushed back to the spring.”

The Powderpuff game is a senior event that helps mix seniors from all different groups and is a way of bringing the class together. With COVID-19, the 2021 senior class has not had the opportunity to participate in the usual senior events past grades have had. This year has been very discouraging for many.

“I feel like we are kind of getting used to [the effects of COVID-19] at this point with no turf last year and now we couldn’t have prom or our own Thanksgiving game, so it isn’t fun,” Morris said.

Throughout high school, different friend groups have been formed as people figure out who they like to spend time with. The senior events are supposed to bring everyone together and celebrate the times the class has had together over the years and to celebrate their successes.

“I was looking forward to bonding with other girls in my grade and having a good time,” senior Maddie Yaffe said. “Practices were supposed to be months in advance and it would have brought our grade so much closer together, so it kind of stinks.”

With so many negatives this pandemic has brought, students are trying to stay as positive as they can during these times. For seniors, it has been especially hard having to go through their senior year with many of their events, like Powderpuff, being canceled.

“I’m pretty sad and frustrated but we can’t do anything to stop this, so it is out of our control, unfortunately,” Yaffe said.