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September 18, 2008 3:01 am

Rebirth of a homecoming tradition

Written by Tribune Staff

Toland organizes powder puff game

The lineup of homecoming activities at Powell High School got a boost this week thanks to the efforts of Hannah Toland.

Toland, a senior student-athlete at PHS, approached PHS activities director Jeff Jones with the idea of conducting a powder puff football game as part of the 2008 homecoming lineup. Upon hearing Toland's proposal, Jones gave her the green light to move ahead with her plan.

“She came to me early on and asked about the possibility of a powder puff football game. I told her I didn't see it being a problem as long as it was well organized. I've seen it done at other schools, and powder puff games are a lot of fun if they are done the right way.”

Toland, who incorporated a fund-raising twist to the event and used it as her senior project, took Jones' approval and ran with the idea. With the help of family, friends and several school officials, Toland turned the project into what proved to be a smashing hit with those involved. In the process, the game raised money for families in need in the Powell area.

“I had a lot of help,” Toland said shortly after the game's conclusion Monday night. “It's something I've always wanted us to have, and I think it went over really well. I've had people tell me they had powder puff games here at one point in time, but it's been a long time.”

Because the event was so successful, Jones said he hopes to add the event to the annual list of homecoming activities.

“It will (become a tradition) if I have anything to say about it,” Jones said. “Hannah did a great job organizing it, and that helped make it a success. She met with me twice a week, and I was very impressed with her initiative and ability to follow through. She took it seriously, contacted churches in order to locate families who needed help and showed a lot of professionalism.”

As an added bonus for Toland, her Pink team, which was composed of seniors and sophomores, emerged victorious in the contest. They won the game 22-14 in overtime. When asked if the outcome was ever in doubt, Toland answered with an emphatic, “No!”

“We knew we were going to win from the very start,” she said. “We just wanted to make it interesting at the end so people would remember how exciting it was.”

Leslie Thronburg opened the scoring with a touchdown for the Pink team, but the ensuing conversion run failed.

The Purple squad, which was filled with freshmen and juniors, answered the score with a touchdown by Mikala Starcevich. The Purple squad also got the two-point conversion to go ahead 8-6.

In the second half, sophomore Stephanie Paul put her track skills to use by scoring the Pink's second touchdown of the game. Laura Morse added the conversion run for a 14-8 lead.

The score remained in the favor of the Pink team until an interception by the Purple squad's EmiLee Bapst with less than 25 seconds to play.

Bapst returned the interception about 75 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14 with three seconds remaining in the game. Time ran out on the failed conversion attempt.

Senior Galen Mills, who coached the Pink team along with his twin brother, Gavin Mills, served as the offensive coordinator, and he defended his decision to have his quarterback throw a pass with time winding down and his team holding a six-point lead.

“They wanted to throw the ball,” Galen Mills said, stating that all of the players in the huddle were adamant about going for more yardage and another possible touchdown. “There was no way I was telling them ‘no.'”

Fortunately for the Pink coaching staff, Paul bailed them out during the overtime period with another touchdown run and the two-point conversion attempt.

The Purple squad, during its one overtime possession, nearly scored on a long run by Katie Kipp, but she was stopped when her flag was pulled at the Pink team's one-yard line. The Purple team was stopped for no gain on its next play thanks to a first-rate defensive play by McKenzie Danforth. On the following play, the Purple squad fumbled the ball and the senior-sophomore team recovered it to seal the victory.