CHESHIRE — For Cheshire High School senior girls, Wednesday’s holiday football game was a chance to make history. After winning their school’s powder puff game as juniors, they had the chance to become the first class to get two wins in the series.
Before a packed crowd, the seniors accomplished their goal in a big way. The girls built a 28-0 halftime lead and went on to win 44-0 in the Third Annual Junior Class vs. Senior Class Powder Puff Contest.
“We definitely wanted to keep the trophy,” said senior Claudia Chong. “This was a good way to end our senior year.”
The seniors jumped out to a 14-0 advantage in the opening quarter. After forcing a punt by Ainsley Dziura on the opening drive, the girls went ahead on a 2-yard touchdown blast by quarterback Jordan Chymbor with 7:11 left in the first.
“That was awesome,” reflected Chymbor. “It was the result of the whole team working together. The line also did a great job of blocking.”
Anna Hurlbut converted on a two-point kick to put her team up 8-0.
The seniors found the end zone again with 37 seconds left in the opening quarter, as Gabby Tirado scored on a 13-yard run. The ensuing kick was no good, so the score stood at 14-0.
In the second quarter, the seniors continued to utilize their speed. After taking a hand-off, Chong raced for a 42-yard touchdown at the 8:34 mark.
“That was great. I didn’t see anyone in front of me, so I kept running all the way,” said Chong.
The seniors put together another scoring drive in the first half. After completing an option pass to Lizzie Braun, Mimi Perlini broke free on a run to the 5-yard line.
On the next play, Ava Matikowski ran outside for a touchdown, but the seniors couldn’t get off a two-point kick.
In the third, the junior defense pushed the seniors into a fourth down, but on a run play, Perlini sprinted to the outside and then cut back into the middle for a 38-yard touchdown with 1:16 left in the quarter.
“I was going right, but when I saw some girls over there, I cut back inside and just kept running,” explained Perlini.
The juniors saw their most offensive success in the fourth quarter. Ally Corris had a 13-yard run to the 16-yard line, but Ellie O’Donnell made two tackles in the back field.
The juniors tried a 34-yard field goal, but it came up short.
The seniors turned around to score the last touchdown. Hurlbut ran to the outside and then made a move to gain separation on an 81-yard scamper with 4:24 left in the game. Tirado booted the two-point kick.
“It was insane,” said Hurlbut, of her touchdown. “Coach (Jim) V (Vicario) said that it was the longest run in the history of the powder puff.”
The juniors had one more possession. Stella Tessier, Ella Kulas, and Corris had key runs to move the ball past midfield.
The seniors appeared to have finished the game on an interception by Tirado, but a pair of penalties allowed the juniors to get one more play. Kulas threw a pass in the end zone, however, Tirado knocked the ball down to clinch her team’s victory.
“I was tracking the ball. When I saw Ella make that pass, I made a play on it,” explained Tirado. “It felt so good.”
The victory meant a lot to Tirado. Last year, a broken tibia kept her from playing in the holiday game.
“Last year, I jealous of Anna (Hurlbut) getting a touchdown. It was great to play this year,” said Tirado.
Corris was the leading rusher for the juniors, while Kulas and Caitlin Fanning split time at quarterback in the game.
“I loved every second of it,” stated Corris. “Everyone was supporting each other and having a great time.”
Ginny Curello had some early runs and also caught a pass.
“It was great to help the team move the ball,” said Curello.
Defensively, junior Mariem Fahmi and Kulas made multiple tackles for their team. Sophia Surato and O’Donnell were top tacklers on the senior side.
While the teams competed hard, the girls described the atmosphere as friendly between classmates.
“There was a lot of friendly trash talk out there,” reflected Kulas. “It is all for fun.”
The juniors were hoping for a better result, but they are excited to have another chance to play next year as seniors.
“We got a lot of experience,” reflected Kulas. “Now, we want redemption next year.”