WALLINGFORD — For the first time in six years, the Sheehan Lady Titans were victorious in the 51st Samaha Bowl powder puff football game Wednesday afternoon, shutting out Lyman Hall High School 34-0.
The game on Fitzgerald Field at Lyman Hall started out strong before a packed crowd. The stands on both sides of the field were full, and fans lined the fencing between the stands around the field, watching the two teams battle early. But by the end of the first half, the Titans were up 14-0, foreshadowing how the game would end.
The fans on both sides of the stands were loud and enthusiastic, but as the game went on the Sheehan fans got louder and louder in their support for their team, prompting one Lyman Hall fan to remark, "they're scoring all these touchdowns because they're so loud over there."
Their enthusiasm culminated when the clock ran out around 5:30 p.m., with fans erupting in cheers as the players celebrated on the field. After the traditional high fives between the two teams, the game's Most Valuable Player award was presented to Sheehan's Sidney Cuticelli, who scored one of the team's touchdowns.
"I'm feeling great," Cuticelli said after the game. "This is an amazing experience and I'm sad it's over."
But she was quick to spread the credit to her teammates. "I couldn't have done it without the rest of the team," she said, pointing to the scoreboard. "That is a result of the efforts of all of us."
The game is named in memory of Judy Samaha, Sheehan’s former athletic director who died in July 2020, and over the years has become both a rivalry and an opportunity for both school communities to come together on the eve of Thanksgiving.
The team formed only five weeks ago, Cuticelli said, and had hours and hours of practice before showing up for Wednesday’s game. Cuticelli said she never played football before this.Community celebration
Regardless of the final score, the game is more of a celebration of community than a serious rivalry. Each team was made up of seniors who will graduate in the spring, and cheering them on was a contingent of cheerleaders — all male, also seniors, who provided the halftime entertainment.
The game drew both current students and alumni, some with their children who also attend the schools as undergraduates.
“I graduated 20 years ago and I don’t even live in Connecticut anymore, but I come back for this game,” said now-Massachusetts resident Sarah Meadows, a Lyman Hall grad. “It has really become an event for both schools.”
For Sheehan coach Cheryl Colwick, her pride for her team was obvious as they posed for pictures with the trophy.
“This is amazing,” Colwick said. “It’s been a long time — six years — since we won.”