DRACUT -- The lights powered on, and the scoreboard lit up one recent Saturday at Beaudry Field for Dracut High School's annual powderpuff football game.
Powderpuff is a November tradition for the high school. The junior girls play the senior girls for four quarters of intense flag football.
Zach Bassett and Ian Michaud, senior football players for Dracut, were the coaches of the victorious senior girls. Junior coaches included Adam Gagnon, James Szadis and Gabriel Morales.
The main event, however, is the cheerleaders, who are the boys from each grade dressed in character and performing hilarious halftime routines.
The event is put on through the hard work of the Peer Mentors program at Dracut High, a group that also stages the mock car crash in the spring.
"I hope everyone has a great night," Michaela Fitzgerald, president of Peer Mentors, said minutes before kickoff. "I think it's a friendly competition. I hope it will all turn out well."
The pregame mindset of the senior players was optimistic.
"I'm feeling on top and enthusiastic," said a confident Erin Reynolds. "We practiced a lot and before the game. My head's in this."
However, that mindset was matched by the juniors.
"I think the juniors are going to win," Gabby Zabbo said. "We prepared a lot, and we practiced a lot."
After the necessary warm-ups, coaches retreated to the sidelines and players lined up with the two game officials, Phil Bolduc and Peter Salem, teachers in Dracut.
The game started with Katie Brooks snatching up the ball and racing down the field, scoring a touchdown for the seniors. Stephanie Nihan scored the point after.
It was a tight competition, with equal time spent on both sides of the field. With outstanding athletic and strategic ability on both sides, it was a no-brainer that it would be a close game. And it was. At halftime, the score was 20-20, after the juniors attempted a hail Mary pass, only to be intercepted by senior Lauren Ramirez.
At halftime, it was time for the long-awaited cheerleading show. Dracut senior cheerleader Kayla Goodwin, who helped choreograph the senior boys, provided some insight for the routine,
"They do have some skill, like an actual cheer routine, and there's a lot of booty shakin' and sass," she said. "For the costumes, they wanted to feel as sexy as possible."
After the entertaining halftime show, the game was back on. Going into the final quarter, the seniors led 33-20. All the seniors needed to do was hold the juniors back.
And that's exactly what they did. The final score was 33-27 after a tough battle on both ends.
Overall, it was a successful night for everyone involved, from coordinators to players and even fans.
"It was an incredible game," Fitzgerald said. "Both teams tried their hardest, and it was a fun game to watch. I think everyone had fun."
The author is a senior at Dracut High School.