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Seniors predict big win in 2013 Powderpuff football game



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June 05, 2013
The war of words began a week before the 2013 Powderpuff football game, and it was the class of 2013 that fired the first shots.

"My prediction? It's going to be a shutout," says a confident Matt Preston, the senior class's defensive coordinator. "Our defense is prime this year."

Under head coach Michael McInerny, who assistant coach Shaun Woods says is "Maybe the best Valley Center football player ever," the class of 2013 is looking to avenge last year's 14–6 loss to the class of 2012.

But despite the tough loss, Coach McInerny says that his team's experience in the big game will help this year.

"It's a huge difference from last year," he said at the seniors' practice on Friday afternoon. "We were able to come out and start running plays right away. Last year, we were working on fundamentals and the basics of the game. This year, we have a better feel for the game."

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Vinessa Perryman scored the lone touchdown for the class of 2013 in last year's contest, weaving through the defense on a sparkling 43-yard touchdown run late in the second half.

This season, Perryman returns to quarterback an offense that will also feature playmakers such as Anndrea Torres, Melina & Vanessa Heredia, Lily Gold, Shannon Padgett and more. The seniors will also count on a formidable front line that includes Megan Stehly, Darin Gilmore, Sophie Kraus and Karlee Westerlund to drive the offense at the line of scrimmage.

"We're going to stick to the ground, but we can air it out when we need to," Coach McInerny says. "We're going to play it safe and let our o-line create opportunities for our playmakers."

On defense, Coach Preston is excited about the skill and intensity he sees from Gold, his middle linebacker. The class of 2013 will also line up with Erika Karr on the line, along with Hana Gilbert, who was a menace in the class of 2012's backfield in last year's game, as well as both Gilmore and Stehly, giving the seniors a considerable size advantage, especially on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

"We've got a height advantage and really an overall advantage," Coach Preston says. "We're bigger, stronger and faster than last year."

That's the challenge facing class of 2014 head coach Anthony Ricks, who is aware of all the hype surrounding the seniors, but prefers to focus on building his roster and finding ways to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers.

"We're not going to make any predictions," he says. "We're going to talk with our play and see if they can put their money where their mouth is."

While the juniors can't match the roster size of the seniors—the class of 2014 had only 18 players as of last Friday's practice—the underdogs have one advantage that no other Valley Center Powderpuff team has ever had: an actual football player.

Bianka Perez-Pacheco, who will play linebacker and running back for the juniors, has already played those positions for the JV football team in the fall. And she says that the experience she gained from playing against the boys will help her lead her team this Friday night.

"I learned to be really aggressive, to go all out," she says. "I learned discipline, respect and agility. But I think the biggest advantage is the understanding of the game. I've learned how to play these positions and I can see the plays develop and the gaps open up."

Even with a small roster, the juniors still have some outstanding athletes who will see plenty of playing time on both sides of the ball.

Savanna Reilly is slated to take the snaps for the class of 2014, while Leina Villemez, Perris Toedt, Victoria Lawrence, Julia Stone and Delaney Cummings all bring their skills to the table.

"We've got a really good offense, and we have some good athletes on defense too," Coach Ricks says. "Even though we don't have as many players, that can be an advantage because our players know exactly what we want them to do out there at all times, and when the subs come in, we won't have to teach them all over again. It's going to take a lot of hard work and focus, but if we work hard, we'll be fine."

"We need to keep our heads up and don't get down on ourselves," Perez-Pacheco adds. "We need to play all out and not be intimidated."

The 2013 Powderpuff football game will take place at Valley Center High School on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

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