You might say that this year’s annual Powderpuff flag football game between the senior girls at both Marblehead and Swampscott high schools is rather historical, especially for Marblehead’s longtime senior advisor and head coach Jacqui Bouchard, who played in this classic in 1993 and has decided that this will be her final one in charge of putting together the game after an 18-year run.
The game has become a tradition every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and this year Marblehead is the home team with the game scheduled to take place this Saturday, Nov. 18, at Piper Field, beginning at 10 a.m.
“I will always call this an awesome experience,” said Bouchard. “I know what it’s like to play in this game, because I played in it in 1993. I know these girls still call it their Powderpuff game.”
Besides trying to go all-out to win the game, the girls on both sides also play for a charity every year. “Over the past eight or so years, Joe Tenney, the Swampscott team advisor, and myself started a tradition where the home team gets to pick the charity of their choice, and then gives the visiting team some of the money, so they get to give to the charity of their choosing,” said Bouchard.
“Last year, Swampscott gave us $1,500, which we donated to SPUR, a Marblehead-based volunteer community organization, so we will give (Swampscott) that same amount this year, and they will donate to a charity of their choice.
“Since I have been coaching over the past 17 years, we have also donated our proceeds when the game is in our town to charities that help and benefit women,” added Bouchard. “For example, breast cancer, and Julie’s Place, a rape crisis center. This year, we are planning to donate to HAWC [Healing Abuse Working for Change] in Salem. HAWC was the first place my team donated to, and since this will be my last year coaching the team, I thought it would be cool to donate to them again.”
There will be plenty of motivation for the home team on Saturday after losing the last two games to the Big Blue. They upended their Marblehead counterparts last year, 21-13 after shutting them out in 2021, 10-0.
Marblehead’s captains this year are: Sophia Hallisey, Colette Rodrigues, Caroline Scroope, Maeve Mcilroy, Geniveve Rodgers and Aoife Bresnahan.
As always, five senior boys from each school will serve as coaches along the sidelines. Each side will also have a team manager. Cameron Comstock, Hogan Sedky and Charlie Sachs are the defensive coaches, while Bodie Bartram and Nick Lemond are the team’s offensive coordinators. Christian Francoeur will serve as the team manager.
“I’ve always had six wonderful young men since I’ve been in charge of this program, and this year is no exception,” said Bouchard. “They had to teach 91 girls the sport of flag football in only four weeks this year. They run all the practices, design the plays and organize all the magic for game day. It is so cool to watch them from the very first day of practice to game day.”
Just like every year, the team’s enthusiasm remains its primary strength. “These girls have so much school spirit. They have been dreaming about this game since they walked into Marblehead High School as freshmen. This tradition is real,” said Bouchard. “This year’s offense is stacked with speed, and my defensive players are pulling flags left and right. The coaches are getting them ready for Saturday.”