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Battle of the Den: Powderpuff edition

By Mahika Khosla and Niru Shivakumar May 22, 2024

At the last minute, the seniors desperately attempted to overcome the uphill battle against the quick- footed freshmen. Yet the defense of the new class was too much for the soon-to-be graduates to handle, and ultimately, the Class of 2028 was crowned champion. As the freshmen team huddled together for the championship picture of the school’s annual Powderpuff tournament, excitement and spirit charged through the crowd in the stands.

In the American football variation known as “Powderpuff,” female participants play touch or flag football rather than full- contact football. Powderpuff was first created to promote gender equality in sports and provide a chance for girls to engage in football. Over time, it has developed into a tradition across many American high schools.

The school’s tournament consisted of a series of flag football games played between girls of different classes from April 23 and April 26. Each grade’s team was coached by players on the school’s football team, and the games followed regular 7-on-7 flag football rules, where players must pull the flag that is tied around a player’s waist to prevent the team from advancing. Powderpuff was organized by Meg Walsh, Activities Director and Leadership Coordinator, along with an ASB committee that was led by Sophomore Hadley Salom. The committee created promotional videos and posters to advertise the tournament to students, who simply had to sign up and fill out a waiver to compete. Still, Salom explained there were very few sign-ups at first, and students often waited until the last minute to submit their waivers. Despite these initial troubles, Powderpuff still maintained a significant player and audience turnout this year. The tournament took place at the Pat Tillman Stadium during lunch, and many students visited the stands to watch.

“I enjoyed watching my friends play in the tournament; it was a great way to spend my lunch. However, I would improve the games by involving more schools and increasing advertising in order for a larger audience to attend,” Freshman Kasey Hasiguchi said.

Students participating in the tournament created custom jerseys correlating with each grade’s team. For example, juniors donned white and blue shirts with a pink Texans logo and their names and class year on the back, Junior Ninweh Murad explained.

“I participated in Powderpuff again this year because my friends were doing it after we had a lot of fun last year! It was a great experience to play and work with the coaches—they helped us be the best we could be and led us to win third place,” Junior Liv Bunea said.

This year, the school took Powderpuff one step further by partnering with Pioneer High School in a final Battle of the Den Powderpuff game. On May 3 at Pioneer High School, each school created their own girls football team—with players from all grades— and competed against their rivals in a high intensity match. Pioneer defeated Leland’s team 35-0.

“After attending the Battle of the Den game, I felt really proud of the girls on the team; even though they lost, their spirit and excitement was at its peak and everyone was ready to play. I also enjoyed being able to meet kind people from the opposing team,” Sophomore Tara Sarhangnejad said.

Regardless of the loss, the Battle of the Den game was an entertaining addition to the Powderpuff tournament, bringing large audiences from both schools. The Battle of the Den game will occur next year, with Powderpuff’s legacy continuing to make a meaningful impact on the culture of the school.


About the Contributors

Mahika Khosla

is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys reading novels, watching movies with popcorn, and creating board games.

Niru Shivakumar

is a junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys playing sports, hanging out with her friends, and listening to music.

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