By LESLEY GRAHAM
Wednesday night at Ocean City’s turf stadium, the usual sights and sounds of a Friday night football game were taking place.
Coaches debating calls, primetime plays, the joys of victory and the agony of defeat. But this wasn’t any ordinary high school football game. Instead, the third annual Ocean City High School Powderpuff football game pitted high school juniors versus seniors in an all-girl showing for who would be crowned queen of the turf.
The Key Club, a service-oriented club at the high school that provides opportunities for students to get involved in the community while volunteering their time, hosted the game.
Five teams participated, while current OCHS football players served as student coaches, helping guide their teams to wins, and the occasional loss. It was a round robin style tournament with each team meeting once and then the top two seeded teams playing for the 2020 title.
Meeting in the championship game was the senior team “Hot Shots” and the juniors “Nothing but Defense.” In a hotly contested championship, “Nothing but Defense” lived up to its name, creating turnovers and taking the glittering football trophy and bragging rights for the year.
Junior quarterback Olivia Vanesko was thrilled playing in and winning the championship.
“It felt awesome playing in the championship. We came up with some strategies and used our strengths to beat a very athletic senior team and take the title,” Vanesko said.
Ashley Schmid, advisor to the Key Club, was grateful so many members of the school community came together to make the event possible.
Schmid also took a moment to thank the Key Club executive board for its tireless effort.
“I’m extremely proud of my president senior Vanessa Karayiannis and vice president Grace Gleason for organizing the event. They will be missed next year,” Schmid said.
With a limited number of school functions taking place this year due to the pandemic, Schmid wanted to make sure there was a safe and fun opportunity for the kids to feel a sense of normalcy.
Senior Chelsea Stack was grateful for the chance to play, despite not winning.
“It was great to have an event back from last year to make life seem normal again. Even though we didn’t win, I know we were all just grateful to be able to play,” Stack said.
Athletic Director Geoff Haines and Assistant Principal Jerry Brown served as referees for the games, John Bruno did a fantastic job announcing with additional play-by-play color commentary, and a number of high school teachers, administrators and staff helped pull the event together.
“I love this event because of how many people it involves: the players, the assistant coaches (football players), the coaches (teachers), Key Club volunteers, administration, and the fans,” Schmid said. “The girls look forward to this event every year, and it’s great to see how happy it makes them. It also feels good knowing we are helping out local families by donating the proceeds to Waves of Caring.”
The event raised over $250 for the local organization Waves of Caring as well as Key Club senior scholarships.