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Flag football takes over Homecoming

Senior girls win flag football game -coached by senior football players

As homecoming week came to a close, the Cats celebrated with a day of festivities. Filled with dunk tanks and faculty dodgeball, the homecoming day activities were a hit across campus. Students enjoyed a pep rally focusing on fall sports, an impromptu football/cheerleader dance-off, and homecoming activities on Kent Field. One event in particular, the girls powder puff tournament, brought girls from all four grades to compete in fun flag football games. Created last year by Upper School Co-Chairs Phillips Moore and Ava Ramsey, the tournament has become a fan favorite of the homecoming activities. 

“Flag football felt like the best way to bring girls from each grade together while also getting everyone excited for the homecoming football game,” said Ramsey. 

The first games began with freshmen versus juniors and sophomores versus seniors. Afterwards, the winners of each game advanced to the championship. Ultimately, the championship game pitted the freshman versus the seniors, ending with a 3-2 senior victory.

“It was such an incredible experience getting to play and win as a senior,” said Ramsey. “Our loss against the seniors last year was really tough, so I loved that our grade got to take home a win this year.”

Ramsey and Moore hope the tournament carries on next year, as they believe it’s a great way to engage all grades and culminate a fun homecoming week.

The girls flag football tournament was actually not the only game played on Homecoming day. The varsity boys football team geared up to play region opponent Stephenson Friday night, hoping to grasp another win for the Wildcats. Coaches and players had high hopes going into the game, using intensive drills and training to prepare the team. The coaches focused on high technique and cardio drills such as sprints and quick passes to get the team geared up to defeat their opponent. 

“We did our best to prepare the weeks ahead of the game,” said football captain Lane Healy. “We knew Stephenson would be a tough team, so we needed to bring our ‘A’ game to bring home a win.” 

The Cats have come into every game this year with the motto “come out early with energy” to lock in and get into the right mindset. The motto helps the Wildcats start every game with high energy, no matter the opponent. 

The team’s disciplined practice regiment paid off in the first quarter of the game, with a touchdown only eight minutes in by junior quarterback Michael Buhay. Later, place-kicker Will Simpson nailed a 35-yard field goal and a 32-yard field goal to make the score 13-0 at half. 

During the intermission, the Cats took a short break to celebrate the 2023 Homecoming Court, crowning seniors Mia Heath and Albert Tang as Homecoming Queen and King respectively. 

“My initial reaction was complete shock,” said senior Tang. “When I heard ‘Al-’ and all I could think about was whose name started with ‘Al.’ When they crowned me as Homecoming King I didn’t even know what to think. I was completely shocked.”

Despite the huge honor, Tang remained humble and was flattered that the student body voted for him. 

“I feel overwhelming gratitude and appreciation for everyone who cheered me on and allowed me to make it as far as I have come,” said Tang. “It is a great honor.”

As the game progressed through the second half, the Cats’s lead was quickly reduced to a tied game at 13-13. Hoping to bring the momentum back, coaches looked to seniors Wade Penn and Fain Barton for another touchdown for the Cats.

However, with only four minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Cats were down 19-13. Calling multiple timeouts and running tough plays, the Cats hoped to tie the game up and eventually bring home a homecoming game win. Unfortunately, with two minutes left in the game Stephenson scored another touchdown, clinching the victory. 

“It was a disappointing outcome,” said Healy. “We worked hard all week going into the game and I know, seniors especially, were upset after the loss as it was our last homecoming game.” 

Even with a tough loss, the Cats noticed outstanding plays by teammates that helped the team clinch 13 points throughout the game. Senior Wade Penn was a crucial factor to the powerful offensive, compiling a few long, tough runs to get Buhay towards the end zone for a touchdown.  

The team hopes to learn from their mistakes against Stephenson, including missed tackles and a lack of defense in certain plays, as they head into their remaining games of the season.

In the future, the Cats look to improve their 4-3 record with wins against Hapeville Charter, Southwest Dekalb and Miller Grove. Varsity football head coach Gerry Romberg aims to focus on tough practices and intense workouts to give the Cats a chance at playoffs. 

Edited by Presley Tsang

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