Indian River girls are tough enough for Powder Puff
One night a year, Indian River High School girls are so fierce on the gridiron that the athletics department considers starting a rugby team.
The Powder Puff football game is a Homecoming tradition, a showdown between junior and senior girls. While the ladies swipe their face with eye-black, boys take the sidelines as cheerleaders in their best sports bras and pink shorts.
This year, the Class of 2014 got the glory, topping the juniors 18-6. Senior QB Karlie Smith once ran and twice threw touchdowns to Hannah Ruberti. Their defensive highlight was pushing the junior offense back for negative overall yards, said Alex Myers.
After losing last year’s Powder Puff game as juniors, the seniors came back with new strength, especially after winning every other Spirit Week event.
“So we needed this one, too,” said Meredith Mitchell. “We won everything else. We knew that it wasn’t enough.”
So what was their strength?
“Everybody,” Myers said.
“We stayed positive during game,” said Beth Walter. “Didn’t matter if they were knocking us down. It was like, ‘OK, guys, we can do this. Be classy.’”
It was flag football, but that didn’t stop either side from playing hard, in a contest described as “intense” by assistant principals Mark Sewell and Corey Heacock.
While the IR football team coaching staff refereed the Powder Puff game, the junior girls were coached by Sewell, Heacock and school safety monitor Doug Hudson. The senior girls thanked their coaches, Principal Bennett Murray and student advisor Justin Steele.
With 3 minutes left on the game clock, junior Chantal Showell plowed down the field, from the opposing 30-yard line.
“‘Just keep going.’ That’s why she got this touchdown,” Heacock told her players, who suddenly cheered louder, ran harder and nabbed an interception.
“Every play was a highlight, because the girls were having so much fun,” said Sewell. “This is not your typical Powder Puff game. It’s junior versus senior.”
“It’s great for all the girls to get out. A number of the girls don’t play sports. To see them all out on the gridiron… There’s 65 girls that gave their all,” Murray said. “The best part is it doesn’t matter what color you’re wearing, it’s all green and gold in the end.”