The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Seniors keep Powderpuff win streak

Powderpuff is a girl’s chance to play football. It is an annual tradition during homecoming week where junior and senior girls compete against each other in a game of flag football. 

The game took place on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at Pony Stadium. The tradition of powderpuff dates back to the 1940s, when men were away at war and women filled in during football games. After generations, Powderpuff has become a high school homecoming week tradition where girls get a chance to play football.

Approximately 30 seniors and 30 juniors participated in the game that evening. Fans filled the stands wearing black in support of the juniors and pink in support of the seniors. Last season, this years seniors (’24) lost so they hoped to make a comeback.

Senior Grayson Zurn, varsity football captain and Powderpuff coach, said the seniors last year (‘23) already played the game so they knew what they were doing. He thinks [this year’s seniors] definitely have a lot more aggression and they’re realizing more about tackling.

To participate in Powderpuff, there was a first come first serve ticket sale in the cafeteria. Bright and early around 6 a.m., the doors of the school were flooded. With money in hand, girls rushed to buy a ticket to be able to play in the game. The large amounts of pushing and shoving led to hurt feelings and many girls were not able to sign up. All of this happened in a matter of ten minutes. 

“I got [to school] at I want to say 6:15 a.m. and we were waiting outside in the cold,” senior Cayman Pagel said. “The sprinklers were going off. So many people were waiting in line. I was super worried I was at the end of the line. A lot of drama surrounded and people were creating walls to prevent people from going to the front of the line. It was very intense at six in the morning.”

“My situation was a little bit different since I’m on student council, I didn’t have to wait in line. But I did have a lot of friends [that had to wait] really early that morning. I want to try to improve how waiting is next year because it’s so chilly and it’s not very fun to do,” junior Maysen Puhrmann added. 

Preparation for the game involved four days of practice after school. The girls learned new skills like flag pulling, tackling tactics and game plays. 

“From what I’ve been seeing and hearing, especially in our first practice, we feel like we got so much done and accomplished that I think the game will be good,” Puhrmann said. 

Powderpuff at the high school level is coached by students rather than teachers or coaches. Student football players, like Zurn, got to have a chance at a larger leadership role and be involved in Powderpuff.

Zurn said you gotta be able to corral the girls because they “obviously are very excited about the experience and sometimes their excitement gets too high.” He added that having a commanding voice will get them to all listen at one time. 

Last year, the girls from the class of (’24) lost to last year’s seniors (’23). They hoped to make a comeback this year because they are more experienced. 

“We were going up against a team that had played a year before. It was a lot of just figuring things out. Now, we get to come into it this year with a little bit more experience,” Pagel said.

For fans who went to the game, there was no need to buy tickets. However, donations were encouraged. All of the funds from the players ticket purchases and the donations went to Tackle Cancer. This organization raises money for cancer research and for the Randy Schafer fund. Tackle cancer is promoted by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and this year the high school is still continuing to raise well over their new goal of $30,000.

Stillwater definitely takes really great pride in tackle cancer and we continue to keep beating our goal from the previous year. We got over $25,000 I think last year.

— Grayson Zurn

“Stillwater definitely takes really great pride in tackle cancer and we continue to keep beating our goal from the previous year. We got over $25,000 I think last year,” Zurn said.

On the night of the game, Pagel made the first touchdown and had three carry attempts in the first half. Elise Dieterle scored the first touchdown for the juniors and the score was 8-6 at half time.

Puhrmann said she has heard both ways, like the seniors are going to dominate the juniors or the juniors are going to dominate the seniors. She thinks that it is going to be a very close [game].

In the final quarter, Maya Krueger made a touchdown for the seniors, leading them to a final game win of 14-6. With many attempts from the juniors, they just could not manage to keep up with the seniors.

Zurn gave a prediction before the game. “I’m expecting a win. I think we learned a lot from last year and our team’s looking really good. I’ll give a score prediction too. I’ll say 14-7 seniors,” Zurn added.

The players got to learn a lot of valuable skills from this experience. Powderpuff is known for this and will continue to be a homecoming tradition for years to come.

“Working with a bunch of different types of people with different levels of experience and adapting to a sport that [I’m] not necessarily used to [was a big adjustment],” Pagel said.

“One thing I’ve learned is just how to communicate with your team. I am a swimmer and I do track and field so I’ve been apart of two more individual sport. So being on this little football team has brought back memories from playing basketball and having these good communication skills of having to work on a team,” Puhrmann added.

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About the Contributor
Alison Keeler, Layout Editor-in-Chief
Alison Keeler is part of the class of 2024. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Alison is a part of an organization called Cocos Heart Dog Rescue where she fosters dogs and volunteers. She works at St. Croix Preparatory Academy for the after school child care. She also has a summer job as a counselor at Hidden Pines Ranch Day Camp. She is also a Link Leader and is a part of NHS.

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