Wallingford home to the longest running football tradition in the country

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WALLINGFORD - Thanksgiving Day often involves high school football for many families in Connecticut.

In Wallingford, the day before Thanksgiving also means the first and longest running powder puff football game in the nation.

Since 1972, senior girls from Lyman Hall and Sheehan high schools have squared off in the Samaha Bowl, named for Judy Samaha, a former Wallingford legend, who started this flag football game. This year, the game was played on Lyman Hall’s brand new turf field.

“The entire community has come out,” said Ed Neiland, the Lyman Hall coach. “”I have grandmothers that played and now their grand-daughters are playing.”

“Ever since I was in elementary school, I've been going to these games and now playing in it is so surreal,” said Hailey Morrell, a Sheehan senior.

Each of the players interviewed was asked, if they had choose between attending their senior prom or playing powder puff,and the response was unanimous.

“I love powder puff, literally love powder puff,” said Lyman Hall senior Alyssa McCann.

That feeling permeates this town, for girls starting at a very young age.

“Fifth-, sixth- graders will come knocking at my door saying ‘I can't wait to be there.’ Kids are already talking about the 50th,” said Cheryl Colwick, Sheehan’s coach.

The 50th anniversary of the Samaha Bowl kicks off in 2021.

Sheehan senior Amy Caplan says the “over the past couple of weeks, we been getting really close as a family and so I really hope my family sticks together and we come home with the win after all this.”

Mission accomplished:. Sheehan defeats Lyman Hall 35-28 in the game that is annually the second-best attended event in town behind only the 4th of July fireworks.