Classical blanks English in powderpuff game

The Classical powderpuff team gathers for a team photo after Sunday's 21-0 win over English at Manning Field. (Photo by Bob Carbone)

LYNN — The Classical powderpuff football team has been on a tear in recent years, and that strong play continued Sunday afternoon when the Rams defeated crosstown rival English, 21-0, in the annual game at Manning Field.

“This group of girls we had, they came out and really put it all on the field today,” said Classical coach Rob Smith. “They did everything we taught them, did it well, and came out with a great win today.”

The Rams were led by the speedy and elusive running back pairing of Abby Stafford and Olivia Pedro. Stafford nearly hit the century mark in the game, rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown. Pedro, meanwhile, ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Both girls had touchdown rushes of over 30 yards in the win.

“They’re both tremendous athletes, and we’re really going to miss them when they’re gone next year,” Smith said of Stafford and Pedro. “They were very impressive out here today.”

Besides the strong offensive play, one of the things that put Classical over the edge in this one was the turnover battle, which the Rams won 3-0 with three interceptions.

“We actually challenged them before the game to see how many interceptions they could get,” said Smith. “Our defense was just tremendous today, and they really gave us a chance to win.”

For English, coach PJ Holey pointed out the strong play of Kaylee Smith-Whelton, Juliana Gabelus, Crystal Shagoury, Keyanni Darling, Milena Biondi, Alaysia Rayndles, Eva Muraga, Chrisneiris Difo and many others.

“I’m proud of this group, they gave it everything they had and worked hard from the beginning,” Holey said. “We just made too many mistakes from the get-go to win today. Classical made more plays than we did, and that’s all you need in these kinds of games.”

The game started off as an even battle, with the two teams remaining scoreless after the first quarter. But after English threw an interception on the first play of the second quarter, the scoring got going for Classical.

The Rams only needed five plays to score after the interception, as Classical ran a tricky double reverse that fooled the Bulldogs and opened up a big lane for Pedro to run through for a 9-yard touchdown. Julia Jordan, a soccer player for the Rams, kicked one through the uprights to give Classical the 7-0 lead.

The Rams got another interception on the ensuing English drive, but they couldn’t capitalize and took a one-touchdown lead into halftime.

The start of the second half saw another quick score from the Rams. After getting the opening kickoff, the Rams started things off with a 15-yard run by Stafford. Pedro followed with a 4-yard run before Stafford broke free on the next play, taking it around the right side for a 46-yard touchdown. Jordan’s PAT made it 14-0 Rams.

Classical capped off the scoring with just over five minutes remaining in the game, when Pedro took another reverse and got loose for a 34-yard touchdown.

The win gives Classical four straight victories over English in the annual game.

“It feels outstanding, because at one point we had lost six in a row to English,” Smith said. “It’s nice to have the streak on our side, and we’re going to try to keep it going even further next year.”

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