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 The Regina and Marian powder puff football game will be played Sept. 14 at Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights. The winning team’s prize is a trophy and bragging rights for the entire year.

The Regina and Marian powder puff football game will be played Sept. 14 at Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights. The winning team’s prize is a trophy and bragging rights for the entire year.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

Powder puff football game tradition continues

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published September 6, 2019



The annual powder puff football game between Regina High School and Marian High School is set for 2:15 p.m. Sept. 14 at Stevenson High School’s Phillip E. Runkel Field.

Every year, students, staff, alumnae and families of both schools gather to root for their favorite team. The all-girls Catholic schools started the tradition more than 50 years ago. All the powder puff players are seniors.

In powder puff, the athletes don’t wear pads. Players wear flags on their uniforms and pull flags from their opponents instead of tackling them. There are 11 players per team on the field during the game.

Sixty-five Marian seniors registered for this year’s team. While many students don’t know the rules of football, they catch on quickly.

“You’re starting at zero. They learn how to play football and how to be physical,” Marian coach Mike Milczarski said. “That is what is so satisfying. The rivalry means the world to them. You practice seven weeks for your Super Bowl.”

Milczarski said that the game brings the students closer together. Students who might not have met get to know each other because of the tradition.

“It’s got that sisterhood,” Milczarski said. “It’s a lot of fun for me as a coach. To see how well they improve, it’s well worth it as a coach.”

“The rivalry between the two schools is really what pushes it,” Regina coach Bill Madek said. “The girls love getting out there. It brings the whole class together every year.”

Madek said Regina students began practicing July 22. There are 64 seniors on the team. Each Regina class chooses its powder puff colors and mascot. The class of 2020 is the black and gold Bulls.

“Every year we get a fresh batch of girls. We have a clean slate we get to start with,” Madek said. “Some girls (know) football. We try to teach them every aspect of the game.”

As part of the tradition, Regina graduates usually form a tunnel on the field after halftime to welcome the team back onto the field. The winning team’s prize is a trophy and bragging rights for the entire year.

“It sets the mood for the whole year,” Regina student and linebacker Taylor Scott said. “It’s something you wait all four years for. The underclassmen cheer you on.”

Scott didn’t know anything about football until the team started practicing. “The coaches make it easy to pick up,” she said.

Regina running back Calista Summers and tight end Carly Skrzycki can’t wait for the game.

“It’s a big deal,” Summers said. “I’ve been waiting since seventh grade to do this because my mom played. The best part is we have grown so much.”

While both teams really want to win, “There’s good sportsmanship,” Summers said. “We know how to respect each other.”

“After putting in 32 practices, you want it so bad,” Skrzycki said. “It gets so real. It’s always a good rivalry.”

Skrzycki added that the public is welcome to attend the game. One cheering section that always shows up is students from the all-boys De La Salle Collegiate High School.

With a mustang team mascot, Marian seniors Molly Landa and Sophia Mancini are ready for game day. Mancini is playing quarterback.

“I would say it’s a very big rivalry,” Mancini said. “It’s fun and games. This is one of the biggest games. We’ve practiced very hard. Hopefully that will lead to a win.”

A football fan, Mancini always watches the Super Bowl every year and tunes in to college football games.

“I pretty much understand the game,” said Mancini, who shared her football knowledge with the other Marian students.

Landa is a middle linebacker. Other than playing the sport with her cousins when she was younger, the game is a new experience for Landa. She said the team has been practicing two hours a day, four days a week doing “conditioning, drills and scrimmages.” The students have bonded over touchdowns, fumbles and sore muscles.

“We get more and more anxious for the big day,” Landa said.

Both Landa and Mancini have been spectators at past games.

“They’re memorable because there’s so much energy,” Landa said. “Everyone is cheering.”

“Everybody you know pretty much comes to the games,” Mancini said.

Typically, between 2,500 and 3,000 people attend the game each year. Stevenson High School is located at 39701 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students, and can be purchased at the gate before the game.

Regina has won the past two games in the series.