MERIDEN — The Maloney High School Spartans notched their second straight victory in the annual Platt-Maloney powder puff game Tuesday, defeating Platt 22-13 in a match up that drew hundreds of spectators.
The storied event saw fans huddled together on a brisk November night donning their school colors and cheering on their friends, family and classmates in a friendly yet competitive game of flag football complete with a halftime show performed by two groupings of mostly male cheerleading squads.
Maloney took control of the game early on, scoring a touchdown and a two point conversion in the first quarter before coming up with another touchdown and extra point in the second quarter and scoring both a touchdown and an extra point once again late in the third quarter.
The Spartan defense largely stifled strong offensive challenges from Platt, holding the Panthers to just six points in the first three quarters.
Maloney coach Daniel Lobner attributed his team’s strong performance to months of preparation, meticulous play running in practices and what he described as a devoted, motivated group of athletes.
“I really feel that our preparation was top notch,” Lobner said. “I was really impressed with the way the girls took practice so seriously and they came together every practice and worked really hard to execute all of the plays, so it was a total team effort.”
Maloney also drew on strong offensive performances, scoring points at regular intervals for the first three quarters of play.
The Spartans’ ground game was spearheaded by Shaelyn Murphy, who racked up two touchdowns as one of the team running backs. She believed her background as a track athlete helped on jet sweep run patterns.
Murphy said the team concocted a winning formula through the support network Spartan players built for one another during the weeks and months leading up to Tuesday night.
“It was great, we’re all super close.” Murphy said, “Honestly, we just cheer each other on, we’re always there to support each other no matter what. Whatever happens, we’re there for each other.”
Though kept in single digits for the bulk of the game, Platt would not be deterred and continued to fight late into the game, rallying near the end of the fourth quarter, scoring a second touchdown and knocking down an extra point.
The unrelenting effort on the part of Panthers athletes in spite of long odds remained a point of pride for the team, regardless of the night’s outcome.
Platt captain Dayanara Gonzalez was disappointed the Panthers came up short, but remained grateful for the steady, determined efforts of her teammates and the friendship forged between herself and her fellow athletes.
“Honestly, it was such a great experience,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve been waiting for this since freshman year, and even though we lost, we did what we had to do and we pushed as hard as we could. I’m so proud of these girls and I love to call them my sisters.”
Platt coach Drew Blythe shared similar sentiments to Gonzalez, praising what he described as the grit and tenacity of his team.
“I’m just so proud because they gave absolutely 100% the entire time. Even when we went down, the positivity on the sideline was amazing,” Blythe said. “I could not be more proud of this group of girls and the dedication that they gave throughout our practices and the game tonight.”