NEW BRITAIN - New Britain and Southington High Schools always find themselves competitive no matter the sport.
The two aren’t excepting tonight to be any different in the annual powder puff football game, which is set to be played at Veterans Stadium at 6:30 p.m.
“I think that it’s New Britain vs. Southington or Southington vs. New Britain, so it’s always going to be a big rivalry,” Hurricanes coach Carlos Piña said. “Both towns are football towns. We’re hoping for a big turnover and the girls look forward to it every year.”
The schools have met every year since 2009 with New Britain holding a 5-3 series lead. The Blue Knights took last year’s game with a 20-yard field goal in overtime, while each team has traded wins over the last five matchups.
And both teams take this game seriously.
“The thing I like the most is the sportsmanship,” Piña said of the rivalry. “Things tend to get a little chippy out there sometimes, but we’ve never had anything too serious.”
This year, Southington will have about 98 girls participating in the game, while New Britain has 48. This will also be the only game on the schedule for the Blue Knights after Cheshire decided not to field a team.
There will be plenty of familiar names participating in the game tonight such as Janette Wadolowski, Rachel Williams, Megan Biscoglio, and Steph Zera for Southington. Gabby Roy and Sara Manuele are among to watch for New Britain.
But the Hurricanes have come a long way from when they first started playing the game the Blue Knights, going from just 32 participants to usually averaging 60-65 players.
“We didn’t get a lot of varsity players on our team like we’ve had in years past,” Piña said. “We’ve had more young ladies that haven’t played varsity sports before, but you’d be surprised how quickly they learned it. I’ve found the girls learn the plays quicker than the boys do.”
That being said, the Hurricanes and the Blue Knights have put in a solid amount of practice time apiece with New Britain starting its preparation the second week of September and having two practices a week from that point on.
“We try very hard to get every one of the girls in the game based on how often they attend practice and how quickly they learn the plays,” Piña said. “But I don’t know many teams practicing for 10 weeks.”
Either way, a win for New Britain would keep it undefeated at home in the series. A win for Southington, meanwhile, would give one school consecutive victories for the first time since 2010-11 when the Hurricanes took the first three meetings.
“We’re expecting a big crowd,” Piña said. “It’s the only game in town. That’s parents, guardians, friends and school staffs. The girls are ready and Southington always is too. We’re looking forward to a great game and having everyone come out and support.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @DavidGlovach