SOUTHINGTON – As the Southington High School powder puff team prepares for its first-ever game next week against Rocky Hill, the vibe around the school is one of excitement and relief.
Teachers and students can feel a heightened buzz around the hallways for powder puff, partly because the school came close to not having a game at all. Southington’s usual opponent New Britain High School canceled its plans to field a powder puff team in 2018.
“There was a vibe in school that powder puff had been canceled, but that was because we didn’t have a team to play,” Southington coach Charles Kemp said. “When we finally made the announcement, the student population was excited about it.”
Once students learned that one of their favorite annual events would continue, uncertainty gave way to elation.
“There were rumors that the program was going to be discontinued,” senior powder puff player Tessa Schneider said. “That really bummed out a lot of us seniors...now there’s a tremendous buzz in the hallways about powder puff. The Class of 2019 is fired up.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Southington High School.
Kemp and principal Brian Stranieri were adamant about finding another opponent after New Britain canceled. With Cheshire also sitting out this year, options were thin, until an unexpected match came along.
“Rocky Hill fell into our lap at the 11th hour,” Kemp said.
Rocky Hill emerged as a potential opponent thanks to a Southington powder puff assistant coach and a former Rocky Hill powder puff player who are roommates, and helped connect the school’s coaching staffs.
“I called them right away.” Kemp said.
Southington must now get game-ready with an abbreviated practice schedule.
To counter potential rust, Kemp organized a practice scrimmage with Amity Regional High School last weekend, and will lead his team into North Haven for another scrimmage Saturday.
“(Rocky Hill) will be seasoned when they come in,” Kemp said. “That was introduced to the girls immediately. They have to make sure they’re good to go on gameday.”
The team values the scrimmages, knowing they will get Rocky Hill’s best on Monday, as the team will already have a game under their belt.
“It’s very important,” Schneider said of the scrimmage tune-ups. “They will be a great opportunity for both the players and coaches to measure how well we will do against an outside opponent before playing the big game against Rocky Hill.”