April 27th, 2013

Rockets' fourth-quarter attack nets Pink-White win

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Rockets' fourth-quarter attack nets Pink-White win
Assumption's Hailey Netherton rolls out to throw on the run / photo by Hillary Reader

The sixth installment of the annual Pink & White flag football game was a resounding success. With 5,000 tickets sold, fans of Assumption and Sacred Heart Academy were treated to an intense, well-played contest that raised thousands of dollars for the Norton Cancer Institute Breast Health Program.

Held at St. Xavier’s Brother Thomas More Stadium, the raucous crowd watched Assumption earn its first win since the inaugural game in 2008. The Rockets scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to come from behind and defeat Sacred Heart 25-14.

The event involved four Catholic high schools, the two schools that played the game and the boys from St. X and Trinity providing halftime entertainment with a dance-off competition. Through its first five years, the Pink & White game has raised $109,000. Adding this year’s donations to the previous six years’ should bring a grand total of more than $130,000.

“All the schools work together and we get to meet with everybody and plan all of this,” Sacred Heart athletic director Donna Moir said. “It is great to work with everyone involved. I had a daughter play in this game two years ago and she will tell you that it’s the best thing that she ever experienced at Sacred Heart.”

While many of the athletes on the field have played for state titles and high stakes before loud, intense crowds, none have played a game in front of 5,000 partisan, screaming fans. Assumption took an early 13-0 lead on  touchdown runs from Hailey Netherton and Dee Dee Sliter. Netherton and Sliter hooked up for the conversion attempt after the second touchdown.

To complement those first-half scores, the Rockets stopped the Valkyries on downs twice and snagged two interceptions. Netherton looked like she’d been playing quarterback all her life as she connected on a 45-yard pass to Christen McAllister and threw several accurate strikes downfield.

“I’ve been looking forward to this game since I was in eighth-grade,” Netherton said. “It is a great cause and it means a lot to me.”

And likewise for Sliter, who said after the game: “This experience goes right to the top. We prepared and wanted to stop that five-peat they (the Valkyries) were going for. And for both schools to raise awareness for breast cancer is just really special.”

The halftime dance-off between the teams from Trinity and St. X delighted the crowd with slick moves with a touch of acrobatics. Though Trinity’s dance was strong, the St. X crew and their crazy Harlem Shake was determined the winner.

Down 13-0 at the half, the Valkyries took control of the third quarter with a strong defensive effort and a quick scoring strike through the air. Kristin Matula then scored on a 7-yard run and Rachel Wimsatt followed that score with a pass to Corinne Peabody for the conversion score and a 14-13 lead.

With the momentum clearly in Sacred Heart’s favor, Assumption coach Wayne West called for a reverse on the ensuing kickoff. Netherton received the kick and sprinted left, only to hand the ball to Morgan Riggs running right. Riggs sped across midfield and into Sacred Heart territory. From there, the Rockets got the ball inside the 1-yard line and Netherton snuck it in for the score to take a 19-14 lead midway through the fourth. After holding Sacred Heart, the Rockets capped off a long drive with a 4-yard scoring run from Caroline Arnold to set the final score at 25-14.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it feels as good as anything I’ve accomplished,” said Riggs. “We’d been planning that reverse on the kickoff for months and it worked exactly how we wanted it to work.”

But the night clearly belonged to the entirety of the Catholic school communities involved.

“It’s a great event, especially with working the guys dance teams into,” said Dr. Rob Mullen, President of Trinity High School. “They have so much fun doing it and they work hard for months. We tell everyone the tickets are on sale for this game and they get gobbled up pretty quickly. This has become a great spring event, almost Derby Festival-like and it is for a great cause.”

Both teams took the field before the game and recognized breast cancer survivors with a pink balloon release. And for Sacred Heart, a special green balloon was released in memory of teacher Bob Casey, who passed away earlier in the week after battling liver cancer.

To watch video highlights from this game, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D42n2K2t3Dk&feature=youtu.be

Students who participated in the game are listed below:

Students who participated in the game are listed below:

Assumption High School

  • Joanna Tarullo
  • Camille Ogden
  • Sarah Schaefer
  • Jamie Thornton
  • Mallory West
  • Christen McAllister
  • Morgan Riggs
  • Caroline Arnold
  • Margaret Stewart
  • Ellie Gregorowicz
  • Lindsey Gerhardt
  • Sara Nicolas
  • Austin McDonogh
  • Audra Kinney
  • Allison Zickel
  • Erin Keifer
  • Elena Vaughan
  • Haley Ellis
  • Kelsey Gordon
  • Lily Ibarra
  • Emily Allen
  • Hailey Netherton
  • Haley Aldridge
  • Erin Mullen
  • Dee Dee Sliter
  • Maude VanDerElst

 Sacred Heart Academy

  • Olivia Russell
  • Katherine Halbleib
  • Corinne Peabody
  • Rachel Wimsatt
  • Kristen Brashear
  • Lauren Wolford
  • Hannah Hollenbach
  • Olivia Mishloney
  • Kristen Scott
  • Maria Lenhardt
  • Madi Kuiper
  • Madison Kraft
  • Callie Taylor
  • Annie Adams
  • Caitlyn Barnes
  • Gabrielle Miller
  • Laura Woock
  • Amy Evans
  • Maddie Myers
  • Julia Stough
  • Kristin Matula
  • Alex Goranflo
  • Caroline Long
  • Hadleigh Frank
  • Casey Vidal
  • Summer Stevens
  • Emily Watson

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