Juniors triumph in Mt. Hope Powder Puff game

Photos by Rich Dionne
Junior Kylie McPherson (right) grabs the flag of a Senior running back during Mt. Hope's annual Powder Puff game on Monday night. Photos by Rich Dionne Junior Kylie McPherson (right) grabs the flag of a Senior running back during Mt. Hope's annual Powder Puff game on Monday night.

Photos by Rich Dionne
Junior Kylie McPherson (right) grabs the flag of a Senior running back during Mt. Hope’s annual Powder Puff game on Monday night.

Marquise Silva (middle) leads the cheerleaders in a dance during their halftime performance.

Senior running back Nicole Rusin heads for the end zone during a touch down run in the first half.

Don’t let the name fool. The Mt. Hope High School Powderpuff game is anything but sugar and spice and everything nice. That is, of course, unlss you’re one of the boys on the sidelines dressed in the girls’ cheerleader uniforms.
On Monday night, girls from the junior and senior classes met on the football field, just like their male counterparts did the night before. For three weeks leading up to the game, players-turned-coaches, David Ramos, Nick Murgo and Kyle Valenzuela ran the junior girls through offensive and defensive manuevers, hitting the blocking sleds and other game time rituals. All that work paid off as the junior team eked out a 21-20 win in overtime, in a game that resembled the Homecoming game the night before.
The Powderpuff game is an annual tradition, putting the girls on the field and the boys cheering from the sidelines. Proceeds from the event go toward the student council for activities they pursue throughout the school year.
Taking the ball first, junior, Kylie MacPherson, scored the first touchdown of the game.
“That was a K-blitz-one,” she said after coming to the sidelines.
Their touchdown was answered by senior, Nicole Rusin, who put up the first six points for her class. The seniors weren’t caught up in naming their plays.
“That was called the ‘pass it to Nicole,’” Nicole said after tying the game at 6.
After Angela Mascena scored a touchdown for her senior squad, she too didn’t get too caught up in the playbook.
“They probably have a name for it, but I don’t know it,” she said after the successful execution of it. “We have the best cheerleaders in the world though,” she added.
The Powderpuff game is as much about what goes on on the field, as it is about what goes on on the sidelines.
The juniors came with a skeleton crew of cheerleaders – John Neto, Ben Ratier, Jared Ramos and Merrill Sampson – who encouraged the crowd with improptu cheers.
The seniors, with a full squad of cheering boys, including Alberto Botelho, Tyler Houston, Chris Riley and Wil “Olga” Jaycox, revving the crowd up with choreographed dance moves, flips, and cheers, the result, said Alberto, of working with the cheerleaders to learn their routines.
On the field, Emma Pattie learned from her coach, varsity QB Kyle Valenzuela, recognizing a change in the defense and called an audible before the snap. That play resulted in a pass to Lauren Fletcher for a touchdown that contributed to the class victory.
With the game ending extra point conversion, the juniors chanted “We’re number one.”
Across the field, the senior class chanted with a little less exuberance, “We’re number two,” taking the loss in stride.
Senior team captain Marissa Rainey, who kept a close eye on the game and “screamed a lot,” may have sparked some controversy in the underclassmen’s win.
“We played by every single rule, including playing every girl on the field,” she said.
Homecoming reign
Despite the rain that moved the Homecoming game from Friday to Sunday, and the rescheduling of the Powderpuff game to this Monday, the Homecoming King and Queen took their reign at the traditional dance on Saturday and marched with their court during half-time on Monday.
Wearing their royal sahes, King Patrick Guthlein and Queen Samantha Jannitto, walked the sidelines with their court, Andrea Pereira and Alexander O’Hanley; Lindsey Benevides and Daniel Simonds; Cassidy Cabral and Baily Ziobro; and Gabrielle Passerello and Adam Almeida.
The students were nominated by the various clubs and activities they are involved with, as well as input from teachers, guidance counselors and fellow students.

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