Carrboro hosted one last football contest of 2016 when the high school held its annual Powder Puff Games last Monday night.
The games featured four teams of girls, many of them athletes from Carrboro varsity teams, representing each class at the high school, in a mini-playoff of flag football. Carrboro varsity athletes players acted as coaches, and Carrboro football head coach Ken Lathan led a three-man crew of officials that included John Faircloth and Derek Bryant.
Despite the superficial frivolity of the charity event, which helped raise money for the school’s prom, many of the junior players took it seriously.
“This is very, very intense,” said organizer Lorre Marro, the faculty adviser to Carrboro High School’s Junior Class Council. “I’ve never seen them take it so seriously.”
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In one semifinal, the Carrboro senior class defeated the ninth-graders’ team 28-0. In the other semifinal, the juniors nipped the sophomores 6-0.
The juniors shocked the Class of ‘17 by upsetting the seniors, 12-8, in the final game.
That was a first in the Powder Puff Games’ five-year history, said Marro. “I really can’t believe they did it,” she said.
“We were in it to win it this year,” said Millie McGuire, who ran in the juniors’ first touchdown in the final game.
McGuire, who also played on Carrboro’s state championship volleyball team, said she remembered the game being “a hot mess” her ninth-grade year, as the participants were learning the game of football.
The volunteer coaches did their best to pass on some knowledge of the sport. Football players Tabian Sales and Tyler Adams coached the senior class team; lacrosse player Chris Millar and Karl Naomi worked with the victorious juniors; lacrosse’s Joe Kelly volunteered for the sophomores; and freshman football players T.K. Paisant and Braden Hunter coached the Class of 2020.
Though some of the coaches had printed out designed plays, much of the pell mell action was ad-libbed. And a running clock that didn’t even stop for timeouts added to the confusion.
Amid the frantic action in the final game, Carrboro soccer player Natasha Turner, a former goalie, made most of the stops as the seniors held the Class of ‘18 scoreless for the first 15-minute half.
Late in the half, Carrboro’s juniors drove down to the seniors’ 15-yard line before giving up the ball on downs. Two plays later, Carrboro tennis player and track athlete Ermine Arcasoy ran for 35 yards, and two plays after that, soccer player and runner Kate Sparling broke around left end for 35 yards and a senior touchdown. Arcasoy ran in a two-pont conversion for an 8-0 lead.
In the second half, the juniors made their own stand at the seniors’ 35, holding the Class of ‘17 on downs in its own territory and then taking just three plays to move the ball to the 1-yard line. McGuire ran it in from there, but the juniors failed in their two-point attempt and still trailed 8-6 with 7:58 left to play.
With the clock relentlessly running, the seniors had only one possession before the juniors took over and scored again on a 20-yard run by lacrosse and field hockey lettter-winner Mackenzie Cox. Though the juniors’ two-point try failed again, they had a 12-8 lead with the clock running under a minute.
The Class of ‘17 had time for just two plays, ending up at midfield, as time ran out.
“This was super fun,” McGuire said. “Everyone comes out here with a common goal, and we have a great time.
“Look at them,” she said, nodding toward her celebrating classmates. “They’re excited. They had a lot of fun.”