CHESHIRE — Cheshire High School athletics takes pride in having close relationships between teammates. However, they are also supportive of some friendly competition.
For the girls’ powder puff game on Nov. 22, the high school is planning its fourth Senior Class vs. Junior Class “Ramland” Super Bowl at Alumni Field. The flag-football game is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m.
Proceeds from ticket sales will be split between the teams to pay for class dues during the academic year.
“I think it is awesome,” said Jim Vicario, who is coaching juniors this year. “There are a lot of things that these kids have to pay for over their four years like prom and the after-prom party. We have gotten a good turnout at the games, which is awesome.”
CHS has traditionally set up powder puff as a lead-up to the school’s Thanksgiving football rivalries. Over the years, Cheshire girls have played against Amity, Southington, and North Haven.
CHS had a 19-year series with Southington, but due to concerns over possible injuries and dwindling participation numbers, the Rams took a break after the 2016 season.
In 2019, Cheshire brought back powder puff as an intra-school game between junior and senior girls. The junior class pulled out a 13-12 victory in the inaugural game.
Due to COVID-19, the game was canceled in 2020, but CHS resumed the game the following year.
With the intra-school format, upperclassmen girls have the chance to play for two seasons instead of just one.
“I think the positives are that there are less injuries and discrepancies between the teams,” said Vicario. “There is a community feel. We are playing to win, but you are doing it to raise money for the classes and not getting too chippy on the field.”
“The girls are excited to play,” said Rich Pulisciano, a coach for the senior squad. “I think \(seniors vs. juniors) tones down the game instead of playing against another school.”
The Class of 2023 is the only group to have won the classic twice. As juniors in 2021, they posted a 16-12 victory. Last fall, the girls returned to win 44-0 in their senior year.
“We felt really special. One, the girls were amazing. They enjoyed every moment and had a lot of fun,” reflected Vicario, who coached the Class of 2023 for the last two years. “They always picked each other up. We had a number of Division I athletes in that group.”
With graduation, there is guaranteed to be a new champion this year.
Both teams will have four practices. Seniors started on Thursday and juniors come together on Friday.
“We have sent out some stuff for the girls to review. (Coach) Dan Lee and I have done flag football with the girls in gym class,” said Pulisciano, who coached on the CHS football staff for 26 years. “We want to see who can catch, who can throw, and who play defense.”
Many seniors are returning from having played as juniors. After coming up short last year, players said that it was motivation to come back and win in 2023.
“There is no doubt that the experience will help them,” stated Pulisciano.
Vicario similarly feels that the one year of experiences makes a huge difference.
“You get a short amount of time of practice. Seniors, who played last year, don’t have to go over the positions and rules. We (the juniors) have to start with the basics with the players the first time around,” explained Vicario. “The girls, who haven’t played before, don’t realize how intense it is. At the game, it is a faster pace and there are people watching you instead of like how it is in gym class.”
While football is a sport, the coaches like how the teams get a mix of athletes and students who are involved in other activities.
“Some girls may not be willing to give up their whole fall to be on a team, but they are willing to play for a week,” stated Pulisciano. “There is camaraderie with your senior class being together.”
“We are big on allowing everyone to play,” added Vicario. “The experienced players have to pick up the new players and move them along.”