WALLINGFORD — The Lyman Hall and Sheehan powder puff teams are making final preparations for the 46th annual Samaha Bowl next week.
Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Lyman Hall.
Named for founder Judy Samaha, the first Samaha Bowl was played in 1971. Each year, thousands of students and fans descend upon Sheehan or Lyman Hall to watch one of the town’s most popular events of the year.
Sheehan head coach Cheryl Colwick said the team has about 80 girls and has been practicing on Sundays since early October. She said some practices have been in inclement weather, which Colwick finds beneficial for the game.
“You need to learn how to play in every type of weather,” Colwick said.
Last year, Lyman Hall topped Sheehan, 36-19. It was the Trojans first Samaha Bowl win since 2013.
“You always want to motivate in some aspect,” Colwick said. “Definitely getting it (the trophy) back here is a big push.”
Colwick said she considers speed to be a strength on this year’s team. She also believes the team is more physical than in years past.
Lyman Hall head coach Ed Neilander said his team has almost 130 girls. In years past, about 80 girls have signed up.
“It’s a big change,” he said. “We love having the senior class out for the experience.”
Neilander said the team is both excited and nervous for the Samaha Bowl, which typically attracts thousands of people and sold out last year.
“It’s one of the largest events in Wallingford, I think they’re happy to be part of this tradition.”
Neilander said one of the goals is to create a team mentality.
“We try not to make it complicated,” he said. “We also realize the bigger picture. We want them to work together as a team, win or lose.”
Lyman Hall captain Avery LaChance, a member of the defensive line, said the Trojans hope to work together as a team.
Sheehan captain and running back Mackenzie Schupp said the team has built a bond.
“I’ve already gotten a lot closer to some of the girls,” she said. “It’s really nice to have a few more friends this time of year.”
As a captain, Schupp’s responsibilities include leading warmups, motivating players and helping instruct players at respective positions.
The key to winning?
“It’s definitely working as team,” she said.