Girls hit the gridiron with class pride on the line

Published 11:13 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It’s an annual battle on the football field at Demopolis High School, with each class fighting for class pride. Whoever wins carries bragging rights for the rest of the school year into the next school year until the next game is played.

It’s a serious football game with a lot on the line, played from goalline to goalline — and it’s played by girls.

Each year, the annual Powder Puff football game pits the junior class against the senior class and the freshman class against the sophomore class. It is more than a battle for bragging rights and class pride. It is also a fund-raiser for the Demopolis City Schools Foundation.

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The game will be played on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium on Cedar Avenue. Admission to the game will be $5 each, and the Future Teachers of Alabama will be collecting tickets and selling concessions.

“I expressed to them that teaching is not only what we do within the four walls,” said FTA advisor Annie Robertson. “We reach out and we have other things to do other than the classroom!”

The game is a part of the DCSF’s Schoolfest, a fund-raising event involving all four Demopolis schools.

“We do several events,” said Jay Russell, who coordinates the football game. “We had a Sunday chicken dinner, and this is our other big event, the Powder Puff game. This is the third year to have a Powder Puff game.

“The first year, I coached the senior team, and had a lot of fun with it. Last year, we decided to make it a part of our fund-raising for Demopolis City Schools Foundation, and I volunteered to organize the event and coordinate it.”

“It provides teachers the opportuity to write grants for materials and equipment,” Robertson said. “We get things like the high-tech Elmo machines, books, trips — all of those things.

“Also for Schoolfest, drama teacher Jody White gives proceeds from one of her play nights. She’s been doing that for four years now. (Demopolis High School) did our Sunday dinner, this Powder Puff football game and the proceeds from the play. That’s how we get our money for Schoolfest. Other schools also have functions.”

Four teachers volunteer to coach each Powder Puff football team — freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. The rules are based on collegiate intramural flag football rules. The field to be used will measure 60 yards long.

“It amazed people the first year we had it,” Russell said. “They said, ‘Oh, they’re just girls playing; they’re not going to be rough,’ but they get aggressive on that football field, and they play really hard. I told people: ‘It’s Demopolis; it’s football. It doesn’t matter if it’s boys or girls playing; they’re going to play hard.’ And they do.”

To counteract the female players, boys from each class will form cheerleading squads for part of the halftime entertainment.

“Last year, the senior male cheerleaders put on their own dance routine, which was popular,” Russell said.

Donations to the Demopolis City Schools Foundation will also be accepted at the ticket booth.

In 2007, the juniors beat the seniors, and last year, the field expanded, and the seniors beat the juniors and the freshmen beat the sophomores. Russell said that one idea is to play both of those games at the same time and have the winners play each other for a DHS “Super Bowl.”

It is a game full of spirit and full of pride, not to be taken lightly by anyone.

Regardless of the outcomes of the games, the true winners are and always will be Demopolis City Schools.