Traditional high school football rivalries are being reignited across the state this week, and one of those was played out Wednesday afternoon — the longest-running powder puff game in the country between Lyman Hall and Sheehan.
It’s the Samaha bowl. A flag football powder puff tradition started in 1972 by former Sheehan athletic director Judy Samaha.
At the beginning of the game there was no lack of energy. Both Lyman Hall and Sheehan gear up for the 51st seasonSt Samaha Bowl with morning mood.
When asked what to expect before the game, Lyman Hall’s Alyssa Murphy wasn’t shy.
“A win,” she said with a confident smile, drawing a loud cheer from her teammates standing behind her.
The seniors-only game has been played for decades. Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, take on rivals from across town in a powder puff game that attracts a huge following.
Lyman Hall senior Dori Madancy has waited a lifetime to play this game. Her grandfather was Lyman Hall’s first powder puff trainer.
“It’s been in my family for 51 years,” Madancy said. “That means a lot to me.”
Madancy had hoped to be quarterback Wednesday but was sidelined with a serious knee injury instead.
“I was devastated but I have the best team around me,” she said.
Lyman Hall rallied behind Madancy and looked to extend his winning streak to seven straight games. However, Sheehan hopes to regain the title.
On the field, it was Sheehan who got on the board first with a long touchdown run from Sydney Cuticelli.
Lyman Hall struggled to get anything going as Sheehan played a tough defense the entire time. Late in the game, another TD led by Sheehan’s Olivia Platt gave the Titans a 21-0 lead.
Regardless of the outcome, those playing Wednesday say there is a deeper meaning to this game.
“I think it represents unity and inclusion,” said Vivian Pawloski of Lyman Hall.
Wallingford gathered Wednesday for the 51st Samaha Bowl, the nation’s longest-running powder puff football game.
“What struck me was that it really brings everyone together and it really makes you feel like family,” said Sheehan’s Arlyn Sandoval.
As the minutes ticked down on Wednesday, it was Sheehan 34 – Lyman Hall 0 – Sheehan snapped up Lyman Hall’s winning streak.
While the Titans were victorious, the real winner was Wallingford.
“At the end of the game when it’s over to cross these sides and shake hands [with our rivals] and be a community. That’s what this is about,” said Sheehan coach Cheryl Colwick.
When it comes to powder puff football, Wallingford’s Thanksgiving tradition is hard to beat.