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Powderpuff Football: Bruises and Long-Lasting Friendships

Oct 06, 2016 03:05PM ● Published by Greg James

The athletic heather colored team (gray) placed in second place at this year’s Silverwolves homecoming tournament. (Dave Sanderson/dsandersonpics.com)

Gallery: Powderpuff Football [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Greg James |  gregj@mycityjournals.com


The players stood lined up and ready to go, the ball was snapped to the quarterback and controlled chaos ensued. Homecoming week at Riverton High School included the annual powder puff football tournament.

Approximately 180 girls participated in the football tournament. It concluded Sept. 8 with the championship game and the homecoming tradition of “Burning of the wolf” (fireworks show and pep rally). Eight teams squared off for the right to be crowned champion, but that was not what many of the players will remember as the best part of the entire week.

“This is one of those traditions that is looked forward to every year,” Riverton High School Student Government Adviser Katie Borgmeier said. “The number of girls wanting to participate grows each year. While the winning is fun, that is not why they play. These girls create many memories over the time they are together.”

The team names were designated by the color shirts its players wore and were represented by a volunteer faculty member. The coaches were made up of student body officers. Many of the teams practiced the week before the tournament to learn plays and get used to playing the game.

“It is so much fun; I love it,” Riverton junior Kendra Carter said. “McKay Nelson was our coach, and he is awesome. We practiced all last week. We wanted to prepare as much as we could. The friends that I have made is the best part. I actually scored once.”

The yellow team was crowned champion this year; athletic heather finished second and maroon third.

“The involvement is amazing,” Senior Class President Whitney Burt said. “The number of students that come and watch the games is cool.”

There is evidence of the earliest powder puff football in 1931 at Western State College of Colorado, but many say the first games were around the end of World War II. Eastern State College of South Dakota had planned its homecoming activities with the signing of a peace treaty with Japan. The school decide what is homecoming without a football game; however only three men were currently enrolled at the school. The women at the school stepped in and played their own game.

Powderpuff games are generally touch or flag football (Riverton uses flags.) The Silverwolves’ tradition dates back to the school’s second year. Many families’ sisters have each played in the tournament. The games are usually lined with parents and community members supporting the teams. 

“My team was the best part,” Senior Class Historian Lindsay McMullin said. “It is a week that all the girls get involved. We all seem to love each other and have so much fun. I think part of the fun is getting to know the new girls.” 

The Silverwolves lost the homecoming football game to Lehi 49-13. Riverton trailed 14-6 at halftime but let the game slip away in the second half.   

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