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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Girls get down, dirty in upcoming powder puff tournament

By Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno | | September 19, 2011

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The Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team reviews their offensive plays during practice Monday. The team is coached by 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan and Staff Sgt. Hector Alanis.

The Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team reviews their offensive plays during practice Monday. The team is coached by 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan and Staff Sgt. Hector Alanis. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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(Left) Cpl. Shanaya Samuel, offensive lineman and returning player for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, practices blocking fundamentals with a fellow teammate during practice Monday. The team is coached by 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan and Staff Sgt. Hector Alanis.

(Left) Cpl. Shanaya Samuel, offensive lineman and returning player for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, practices blocking fundamentals with a fellow teammate during practice Monday. The team is coached by 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan and Staff Sgt. Hector Alanis. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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Sgt. Keonaona Paulo, quarterback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, receives a snap during practice Monday from coach 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan. H&S won the championship last year and is preparing to defend that title again this year.

Sgt. Keonaona Paulo, quarterback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, receives a snap during practice Monday from coach 1st Sgt. Charles Callahan. H&S won the championship last year and is preparing to defend that title again this year. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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Sgt. Keonaona Paulo, quarterback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, pitches the ball to another teammate while running an offensive play during practice Monday. This year's powder puff tournament will be held here Oct. 18-19.

Sgt. Keonaona Paulo, quarterback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, pitches the ball to another teammate while running an offensive play during practice Monday. This year's powder puff tournament will be held here Oct. 18-19. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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The Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team scrimmages during practice Monday to get a feel for the pace of a real game. The team will compete in a two-day tournament here Oct. 18-19. The winning team will then proceed to compete in a tournament against the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton victors aboard MCAS Miramar for the tri-base championship title Oct. 20.

The Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team scrimmages during practice Monday to get a feel for the pace of a real game. The team will compete in a two-day tournament here Oct. 18-19. The winning team will then proceed to compete in a tournament against the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton victors aboard MCAS Miramar for the tri-base championship title Oct. 20. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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Sgt. Amanda Mazzei, halfback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, makes a run after receiving the ball during a practice scrimmage Monday. The team will be defending their title in the tournament to be held here Oct. 18-19.

Sgt. Amanda Mazzei, halfback for the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puff football team, makes a run after receiving the ball during a practice scrimmage Monday. The team will be defending their title in the tournament to be held here Oct. 18-19. (Photo by Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno)


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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Donned in flags instead of pads, powder-puff football prepares to take to the gridiron for another year of gut-wrenching good humor and good times.

These athletes may appear sweet and innocent, but don’t be deceived. Their seemingly subdued demeanor is enough to crush coal into diamonds, and given witness to one game, spectators’ preconceptions will change with the snap of the first ball.

Although the tournament is still three weeks away, the Headquarters and Service Battalion powder puffs are already hitting the field for practice. As defending champions, they’re not taking this tournament lightly, refusing to underestimate any team that may step up to that line of scrimmage.

The two-day tournament will take place aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Oct. 18-19. New this year, the depot champion will proceed the following day to compete in a tournament aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar against the Miramar and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton powder-puff football victors in an attempt to claim the tri-base championship title and ultimate bragging rights, making the victory that much sweeter.

“There’s a lot of potential on the team, so there shouldn’t be any reason why we can’t pick up (the fundamentals) quickly and come out with the title,” said Cpl. Marisella Martinez, safety and returning player for H&S.

Martinez said their biggest weakness is just getting down the plays due to the inexperience on the team; however, their ability to keep on their toes will prove beneficial in the long run and hopefully put them out in front.

During practices, the team primarily focuses on fundamental skills, such as blocking and pitching the ball, but they also run offensive plays and scrimmages to get a feel for what a real, fast-paced game is like.

Most football players wear layers of pads for protection, but powder puff girls only need no protection other than their speed and agility as they zig and zag to the promise land for six.

“Anxiety will be the biggest challenge,” said Cpl. Shanaya Samuel, offensive lineman and returning player for H&S. “Usually we just play within the depot, but the winning team will compete against Miramar and Pendleton, so that’s a lot of added pressure.”

Samuel said relieving tension will be a key to their success. They must remind themselves that although they’re in it to win it, they’ll have one up on the other teams if they learn to relax, communicate and have fun.

Service members are encouraged to come out and support the unit teams in the tournament and see firsthand that it’s not just a game of “powder puff.” Spectators are assured they will see plenty of aggression on the field and even get some good laughs out of the outrageous plays that are bound to occur.

“Because it’s called powder puff they think that it’s not tough, but it is,” said Martinez. “It’s not a cutesy game. It’s football.”

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