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High school girls will play football for a cause

At homecoming, Hastings football fans will pile into the stands at Todd Field to watch the boys run, pass and kick for a win. But before they do, the girls will take the field.

Hastings High School girls will play a set of powderpuff games at Todd Field Oct. 6. The games start at 7 p.m.

Senior Hannah H. Hoffman is organizing the event. She had never heard of it until last spring, when one of the girls she golfed with mentioned her school's powderpuff game. It sounded like a blast - a chance for the girls to come together in a sport that's traditionally reserved for the boys. Hoffman's high school, however, had not had a powderpuff game in years.

She approached the principal last spring, asking why Hastings didn't have a similar event. The reason, she said, was that no one was willing to organize it, but if Hoffman was willing to take it on, the school would give it a shot.

She did, and the turnout is going to be huge. After posting the event on Facebook and spreading the word around school, Hoffman had about 180 girls in all four grades who wanted to play. As well as publicizing the games on Facebook, Hoffman and a couple other girls set up a registration table through all three lunchtimes for a full week. All told, 167 girls registered to play.

"I did not think it was going to go as well as it did," Hoffman said.

Everyone who registered paid $15 for a T-shirt. Hoffman designed four shirts - one for each class - that she hopes will help minimize division between the classes. The designs are nearly the same, with just slight differences to distinguish the classes.

Any money left over from T-shirt orders will be donated to Hastings Family Service, Hoffman said. She decided to also charge a $2 admission to the games, and all that money will also be donated to Hastings Family Service.

"It's just the right thing to do," Hoffman said.

With nearly 170 girls ready to play, Hoffman is hoping that she can get at least that many people in the stands.

"I would hope that with every person playing there's one watching," she said.

Originally, Hoffman had considered holding the games at halftime at the boys' homecoming game. But the number of players - and the fact that many girls would be eligible for homecoming queen at halftime - led her to move the event to Oct. 6.

The girls will, most likely, play two 50-minute flag football games that will allow enough time for everyone to get some time on the field. Freshman and sophomore girls will play one game, and juniors and seniors will play the other. Hoffman said they are still deciding if they will play a half-field or full-field game.

The event is designed to be fun, but the girls are still taking it seriously.

"We actually are going to be playing football," Hoffman said.

They'll start with flags, but considering the number of hockey players that signed up, she said, there's no knowing just how hard the hits could get.