Samaha Bowl

Wallingford Powder Puff Football Tradition Continues With 49th Annual Samaha Bowl

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In a year that canceled the traditional high school football season in Connecticut, the oldest powder puff football game found a way to continue its tradition.

"It's so crazy that I'm here right now," said Lyman Hall senior Makayla Hone. 

The Samaha Bowl, which is usually played on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, was moved to the spring this year allowing Sheehan and Lyman Hall to take the field.

"This is just the bright out of the covid storm that we're just going to play our hearts out, out there," said Lyman Hall senior Ciara Senberg.

"If you had asked me four months ago, I would have said it's not going to happen," said Lyman Hall head coach Ed Neilander. "It's a great thing to make life more normal and that's what we're all looking for, to go back to some normalcy."

The Samaha Bowl was created by longtime Sheehan teacher and athletic director Judy Samaha back in 1972. Judy passed away in July and players wore a patch with the initials "JS" on their jerseys during Saturday's 49th Samaha Bowl matchup.

"Without her, none of us would be here and I'm so thankful she created this for girls," said Sheehan senior Mackenzie Bushey.

"We miss her so much. She started this all. We're out here playing for her," said Sheehan senior Brianna Hemstock.

"We know she's watching over us," said Senberg. "She's watching today, the sun is out."

Lyman Hall defeated Sheehan 21-14 to win the Samaha Bowl for the fifth straight year. For both teams, renewing the rivalry after such a tough year and all the uncertainty that came with it meant a lot.

"We wait for this game all four years of high school," said Sheehan senior Caitlyn Velez.

"I wouldn't trade this senior year for anything because of this," said Hone.

"I've never really felt a part of anything and this has definitely made me feel so much a part of a team, a part of a family," said Bushey.

The usual energy and excitement were present, even with limited spectators. Playing the Samaha Bowl in the spring on a hot day also made it unique. 

"No one else has ever had this before," said Sheehan head coach Cheryl Colwick. "To have a spring game, one in 49 years, it's a good thing."

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