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Seniors organize NCHS ‘Powderpuff’ flag football tournament – Central Times - FlagSpin

Seniors organize NCHS ‘Powderpuff’ flag football tournament – Central Times

For the first time in nearly a decade, Central juniors and seniors competed in a “Powderpuff” football tournament on Nov. 12. The event was not sponsored by Central, instead being run independently by seniors Natalie Richards and Anna Dougherty.

The five-team girls flag football tournament ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Naperville Yard Indoor Sports Complex, with 94 upperclassmen signing up for the event. The teams were made of junior and senior girls and coached by varsity football players.

“We all got it as a group of friends and we all got to hang out together,” said senior Brooke Sawatzky, a wide receiver for the Joe Burrow Fan Club. “It was a really fun memory to share with everyone.”

Despite attempts by Senior Class Council, the event didn’t obtain school sponsorship, leading to organizational challenges. Despite raising over $1,200 in entry fees from the tournament, Richards and Dougherty lost $20 putting on the event.

“It was definitely hard because we had nobody to look to [and tell us] how you do it,” Richards said. “We were kind of making things up as we went.”

Those challenges were highlighted by a sprained ankle suffered by junior Emily Patton. After two student athletic trainers and a nurse who were attending the event administered care, she was taken to the hospital and is now “all good,” according to Richards.

“That was definitely a bump on the day, but she’s good now so that’s all that matters,” Richards said. “We did all the things that we knew how to do to prevent any further [injury].”

Central’s powderpuff games were based on the rulebook from Neuqua Valley’s games, but there were some adjustments made both before the games and mid-tournament. The first game, for example, didn’t include extra points after touchdowns, but that rule was added shortly afterwards.

Despite some struggles, Richards believes the tournament was a “good time.”

“Getting to play a fun game with friends was definitely the highlight,” Richards said. “It was a day for all of us [to] have fun, going crazy, celebrating and playing a fun game.”

Sawatzky said her favorite part was working together alongside her teammates in practices and celebrations.

“At the end of our last practice, we practiced some celebrations, so [when] we scored a touchdown we all sat down and rowed the boat. Our last game we all walked out holding hands with partners [and] playing music with the speakers” Sawatzky said. “It’s just really fun getting to spend time with everyone and [watching] the games.”

Richards and Dougherty are planning on running a second powderpuff tournament during second semester, currently scheduled for April 28.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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