Seniors sweep spirit games

The senior class defeated the juniors in the powderpuff game 22-16 and won the manball contest in three sets.


Owen Aanestad

The seniors celebrate their 22-16 win over the juniors during West High’s annual powderpuff game on Oct. 3, 2019.


A comeback for the ages unfolded on Trojan Field Thursday night.

The seniors battled back from a 14-6 first-half deficit to defeat the juniors 22-16 in the annual powderpuff game at Trojan Field. West High football players coached the girls from the sidelines as opposing student sections formed on each side of the field.

The senior coaches rolled the dice on the first play of the game, attempting an onside kick which failed miserably.

Sydney Sherwood ’20 was ripping some aggressive flag-pulls on the junior’s first drive, but Rylee Goodfellow ’21 found Audrey Koch ’21 for a touchdown on a third and long to take the wind out of the senior’s sails.

“I think [the first drive] went pretty well, we were kind of nervous,” Goodfellow said.

The senior’s responded with a tactical drive down the field that included a long run from Katelynn Hillberry ’20 followed up by a touchdown run from Eva Burbidge ’20. The PAT, which counts for two points, was no good.

Leading 8-6, junior coaches Marcus Morgan ’21 and Grahm Goering ’21 displayed their play-calling brilliance with a counter run to Kenzie Donovan ’21. Donovan evaded some would-be flag-pullers and glided into the end zone to put the juniors ahead 14-6.

“We have a lot of girls contributing, a lot of speed; that’s what we worked on,” Goering said. “Great blocks, they’re playing great, playing out of their minds.”

With the half winding down, Hillberry drove her team down the field and into the red zone with under two minutes left. Hillberry found Pauline Kihura ’20 for a touchdown to end the half, and after Kihura put her kick through the uprights the score was 14-12 juniors.

“Last year my kicks were off, so I’m really proud of myself for actually making it in this year,” Kihura said. “Getting a touchdown was a lot of fun.”

A riling halftime speech from coach Nick Fairfield ’20 lit a fire under the seniors to start the second half.

The opening drive for the seniors was nearly halted before Hillberry busted a long fourth down run to extend the drive.  After a bold play call from the senior sideline, Hillberry executed a beautiful flea-flicker pass to Burbidge for the score.

The extra point kick from Kihura put the seniors ahead 22-16, and after a successful onside kick, the 2020 team looked to be in control.

The junior defense held tough, however, behind great blitzes from Mataiya Tellis ’21. After a turnover on downs from the seniors, the juniors regained possession with a chance to take the lead.

Goodfellow connected with Donovan for a thirty-yard strike in the red zone, but the juniors couldn’t convert and returned possession to the seniors.

With the clock running and the seniors stalling, Hillberry attempted to connect with Kihura for a post across the middle, only to be blown up by Tellis on a near head-to-head contact. The senior sideline erupted in protest, but referee Josh Kidman stood his ground on the no-call.

“Didn’t see it,” Kidman said.

The juniors had one last chance to win the game, but a late-game interception from Kate Sehr ’20 sealed the victory for the senior class, sending the team and its coaches into a frenzy at midfield.

“They worked hard out there, we had a rough first half…hats off to them they played their hearts out,” Fairfield said. “It got a little heated, the refs may have missed a few calls, but overall pretty great game.”

Eva Burbidge recorded a rushing touchdown and receiving touchdown in addition to multiple flag-swipes on defense. Sherwood and Laurel Haverkamp ’20 provided the edge on defense for the seniors.

For the juniors, expect Goodfellow to be back next year leading the team at quarterback with a number of valuable assets. Koch, Donovan and Tellis are all great two-way players that could make an impact in the year to come.

The junior’s next game is next year against the 2022 class. The seniors are hanging up their flags for the time being.


Following the powderpuff game, the crowd of fans, players and coaches flooded into the West High gymnasium to catch some volleyball action from the boys.

The twin towers of Even Brauns ’20, six-foot nine, and Ben VanderLeest ’20, six-foot three, were all over the nets in the first set for the seniors, combining for seven kills.

“It’s all teamwork,” Brauns said. “Me and Ben are kind of killing the show right now. He sets it, I kill it, you know the gameplan.”

The gameplan was certainly executed in the first set as the seniors rolled to a victory, 21-9, over the disorganized junior players. Junior coach Rylie Baldes turned the team around with some excellent game planning during the break as the team stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the second set.

Michael Wu ’21 was diving all over the floor in the back row, making some excellent digs from his libero position. Schuyler Houston ’21 was on fire in the second set, dropping aces all over the court.

“Honestly, that’s the most fun I’ve had playing a sport at West High that wasn’t organized,” Houston said. “I can’t wait for next year, the coaches were awesome.”

Great times were had by all at the manball game as announcers James Pinter ’20 and Nikul Patel ’20 provided humorous analysis from the scorer’s table throughout the night.

The juniors tied up the match at one set apiece, setting the stage for a third and final set played to fifteen points.

The seniors came out firing to start the third set, opening on a 5-0 run to begin the set behind great serves from Collin Leavy ’20. It was fair to say the senior student section was in the junior’s heads early in the third set.

The juniors responded behind strong hits from Andrew Tauchen ’21, and eventually tied the score at 11 points apiece.

The seniors eventually edged out their juvenile adversaries, winning the final set 15-13 to capture the manball title.

The student sections at both contests were avidly chanting and cheering on their classmates, providing a great atmosphere for the players. It is fair to say that school spirit is back in style at West High.