WALLINGFORD — The Sheehan and Lyman Hall high school powder puff teams will write another chapter in the storied history of the Samaha Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
The 47th annual game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. at Sheehan’s Riccitelli Field.
Lyman Hall has taken home the trophy in the past two contests.
“The girls know they have to be perfect to beat Sheehan,” Lyman Hall head coach Ed Neilander said. “We don’t rest on our laurels. Every year is a new senior class, so anything can happen.”
Neilander’s message has gotten through to his senior class, which has been ramping up the intensity at practice as the game draws closer.
“We talk about keeping the trophy home, but we’re a different group of girls,” Lyman Hall quarterback Kailey Lipka said. “It would be great to get the school a three-peat. But this is just a one-time game for us.”
While the team tries its best to ignore the school’s recent success, it can’t help but acknowledge the increased enthusiasm around the halls as Lyman Hall looks to get a win for the third-straight season.
“Everyone is excited,” Lipka said. “There’s posters all over the windows (at school). The atmosphere is really coming alive. The whole school can feel it.”
Neilander said several girls who have never played sports showed up to practices regularly. As long as they make it to at least 8 of the 10 scheduled practices, they’ll play in the game.
A similar rule is in place over at Sheehan, where head coach Cheryl Colwick is thrilled with the incredible turnout.
“Out of 101 girls in the Sheehan senior class, we have 94 practicing,” Colwick said. “Whether they’re into drama, sports, culture, it doesn’t matter. It’s an event where they’re all one. It’s truly a family.”
“It’s the biggest thing around,” Sheehan center and captain MacKenzie Morrill said. “I’ve been looking forward to it since elementary school. Everyone looks forward to it.”
Now that Morrill’s moment is finally near, the desire to win and end her school’s losing streak has started to surface.
“We’re hungry to win,” Morrill said. “We want the trophy back here.”
While both teams crave to be the one celebrating when the clock hits zero, coaches and players recognize the real reason behind the game.
“I’ve created such a bond with (my teammates),” Morrill said. “I didn’t know half of them before, but now we’ve made so many incredible bonds.”
More bonds will be formed between the schools after the game, when both squads will follow tradition and enjoy dinner together.
“That’s the spirit of Wallingford,” Neilander said. “In the end, we’re all just Wallingford residents. That comes first.”