A simple after-school powderpuff football practice ruptured into boiling turmoil within a few moments back in the fall of 2018. A junior girl (class of 2019) was pummeled to the ground by three Holt High School girls in a set up by a player on the senior team.
Meanwhile, school football player bystanders watched in awe recording every moment without stepping in to help. She ended up going to the hospital injured.
“They never had the game that year because of the incident. I honestly think it was straight rugby,’’ senior Anna Poritt said.
Powderpuff is supposed to be flag football played by girls, but not tackle. It’s played throughout the country at many schools traditionally during homecoming week and on school grounds. The violent games were unsanctioned and played away from school.
“It (the games) was a bloodbath,” senior Brenna Bailey said. “I remember hearing that a girl got a piece of her ear torn off. Girls were breaking collarbones.”
With boys instigating the girls to beat on each other, it wasn’t a surprise injuries happened. Powderpuff drew a crowd simply for the brutality. This didn’t help powderpuff’s case for being a school-sanctioned event.But that changed this year.
Bailey contacted athletic director Darin Ferguson, who was supportive of powderpuff coming back to the school.
“As long as they knew it was safe,” she said. “It’s strictly flag. The worst you could get hurt is falling and getting turf burn. Along with that, at each practice there will be teacher supervision so that the environment continues to stay positive”
Despite powderpuff’s past conflicts, Tuesday’s game was a success. The seniors led throughout the start, keeping a tie until the junior class began to pull ahead.
Senior participant Havanna McIntosh said the two teams approached the game differently and led to the Class of 2020’s 21-14 loss.
“The juniors kept in their star players, but the senior team rotated how they were supposed to,” she said.
Along with all the money raised through the $1 admission cost going to helping pay for prom, players walked out with no injuries. The opportunity to play after years of bad experience really stuck with people.
“I think it was a great start for an event that will become annual,” Bailey said.