LYNN — The countdown is on until Lynn Classical faces off against Lynn English in its annual powderpuff football match on Sunday at noon. Last year it was the Rams getting the best of their rivals beating the Bulldogs 12-0.
In his second season as head coach (ninth year on the sidelines), Rod Valrie Jr. is looking forward to the big day with a good crowd.
“I’m expecting a good crowd. Usually, these girls on both sides bring out a lot of fans, which is always appreciated,” Valrie Jr. said. “During this time, the talk is the boys, but it’s always great when people can support the girls because they deserve it just as much as the boys do.”
Classical has 32 girls on its team, and Valrie Jr. described his team as “athletic” and “physical.”
“Coming in, my assistant coach Derek Edmonds and I didn’t know what we were going to get with this class because last year we had a great team with a lot of athletes who played sports year-round,” Valrie Jr. said. “This year, we didn’t know as many of the girls because we only knew a few who played sports.”
“We were kind of blindsided when we got to practice and saw how athletic some of these girls are,” Valrie Jr. said. “It’s a good thing for us. The more the merrier. They’re all athletic, and their potential is high. I feel comfortable going into this game on Sunday.”
The Rams have been practicing hard since the end of October, gearing up for the showdown for the ultimate bragging rights.
“Not only are you playing for bragging rights because some kids have friends and family that play on the other side,”Valrie Jr. said. ”But you’re playing for a trophy where you only have one shot at it.”
Valrie Jr. mentioned that one of his favorite things about this game is the girls’ anticipation from freshman year waiting to be a senior to play.
“Being able to impact these kids’ lives is one of my favorite things. They only get to do this once, and a lot of them look forward to this,” Valrie Jr. “When they’re freshmen, they look forward to the game. I just want to make sure I give these girls what they’ve been looking forward to for three years. A lot of these girls don’t play sports, so it’s their time to shine and have their friends and family come out and support them. This sport is for everyone, and everyone shines.”
According to Valrie Jr., the team has been working hard to make sure the trophy stays with Classical.
“The practices have been going very well,” Valrie Jr. said. “They’ve been progressing every practice. We haven’t been easy on them but at the end of the day there’s a reason. It’s for the good of the team, so when we show up on Sunday, there will be no mistakes and all business.”
Despite winning last year and feeling confident in his team’s ability to repeat as champions, Valrie Jr. knows English won’t go down easily.
“English always brings it. They played well last year, so I’m not taking anything for granted,” Valrie Jr. said. “The goal is to win and defend our championship trophy and bring it back to 235 O’Callaghan Way.”