Moffat County girls compete in revamped Powder Puff football game |

Moffat County girls compete in revamped Powder Puff football game

Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press
Emaleigh Papierski runs with the football during Saturday's Powder Puff game.
Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press

It’s not unusual for players to be shivering during the annual Moffat County High School Powder Puff football tournament, but the rising midday mercury meant ladies were colder at the start this year.

The reorganized tourney took place Saturday morning at Woodbury Sports Complex with three all-girl teams ready to get physical.

While not on school grounds or even an official part of MCHS Homecoming this year thanks to COVID-19 precautions, the event was revived by Bear River Young Life.

Young Life director David Pressgrove noted that school officials allowed him to take it on as a “one-year thing.”

“The girls really haven’t had a lot to do this fall, so it was good to have something for them,” he said. “It’s a little step closer to normalcy for them.”

A trio of teams made the most of the Halloween theme, as the Bad Witches, Boo Thangs and Black Widows suited up for play, while MoCo varsity football players served as coaches and referees.

Even with a flag football format, more than a few tackles occurred nonetheless, and a round robin structure saw each team face off against at least two opponents in lengthier games than usual with dual 15-minute halfs.

The match between Boo Thangs and Bad Witches started the excitement swiftly as Emaleigh Papierski exploded out of the Boo Thang backfield and traversed the entire field on the very first play.

Papierski had to forego the cross country season after a summertime basketball injury, and her stored-up speed was hard to miss.

“I missed competing. It felt so good, just kind of slippery,” she said.

The rest of the opening game was scoreless as both teams stayed tough defensively, Boo Thangs taking the 6-0 win.

As Bad Witches moved on to face Black Widows, the snow coverage on the field began to shrink thanks to the activity plus the heat, much to the relief of Cayden King, who managed to slip on virtually every patch of slush while rushing for the Witches against Boo Thangs.

“It’s hard to switch directions out there, it’s so slick,” she said.

With a clearer field, King was nigh-unstoppable, ramming in two touchdowns against Black Widows.

Widows quarterback Haylee Ludgate connected with Alayna Behrman for a massive TD reception, though the black and orange team struggled to score again in the 12-6 loss.

Widows players Antonia Vasquez and Kydalin Wagner said they had limited time to prepare for the tourney but still enjoyed it.

“I’m ready to do it again but win,” Vasquez said.

Wagner added they were grateful to even be able to play after not being sure any Homecoming activities would commence.

“That’s the best part,” she said.

Black Widows next moved to Boo Thangs, who were on point with TD catches and interceptions alike to claim a victory.

A rematch of Boo Thangs and Bad Witches was a battle royale as neither defense allowed a point during regular gameplay. College rules overtime let each squad start from their opponents’ 20-yard line and still it was a stalemate on the sets of downs.

The Witches looked to have the advantage until Jacie Evenson earned a crucial interception for Boo Thangs. And, as excited as she was with the turnover — thus starting another round of OT — Evenson was even livelier as she got another big catch minutes later, carrying it into the end zone.

“It’s hard to break away from them, they don’t let you get very far,” she said.

Quarterback Reese Weber sent it to Halle Hamilton for the extra point and the 7-0 lead, but the Witches had another chance to work their magic, getting on the board as Avery Atkin pulled down the pigskin at the far edge of the end zone to make it 7-6.

But, an attempt to go for the two-point conversion fell flat to give the championship to Boo Thangs, many of whom were defending champions from 2019.

The ghost-themed team included Evenson, Weber, Hamilton, Papierski, Diana Arellano, Rylie Felten, Emma Jones, Hannah Pankow, and Hannah Frink, along with coaches Ryan Peck, Taran Teeter, Myles Simpson, and Joe Campagna.

The Powder Puff concluded this year with more than just bragging rights as Pressgrove presented both teams with gift cards for Subway, City Market and Walmart, financed by donations from Intermountain Real Estate and the Kawcak family.

Pressgrove also had a piece of hardware to present Boo Thangs, a trophy repurposed from one of many snowmobile awards from the Stoffle family, complete with a Young Life logo designed by Identity Graphics.

Pressgrove noted that Young Life’s Fifth Quarter event Friday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center after the football game with Woodland Park saw about 100 high school students. The organization will host a similar event Nov. 6 for middle school ages.

“It’s been a challenge to be connected with students this year with so many safety precautions, so having the opportunity to advocate for them and give them more things to do is something we definitely want to try to do,” he said.

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