There should have been a flag. That’s what junior Leyton Bracken thought anyway. The ball was in the air by the time Senior Henry Troy put his hands on him during the championship game of La Salle College High School’s annual ``Turkey Bowl’’ charity football tournament recently on Flannery Field.
And well… ``He hit me right in the face,’’ said Bracken, and technically, yes, he did.
But there were two reasons for the no call. One – and this is perhaps the most important of the two – the collection of officials from the junior class who were working the game were far more interested in taunting the players themselves than they were of dishing out penalties that would slow the frenzied pace of a 10-minute running clock contest that shared more characteristics with rugby or that other football than it did of the plodding American version.
The other was that Troy’s infraction was a Three Stooges-like face-rake delivered with a smile. And which Bracken quickly avenged with a two-handed push that landed Troy on all fours.
Again, delivered with a smile.
``We’re really good friends,’’ Troy said after the seniors held on to defeat the Juniors, 28-14 and capture the latest championship. ``We go at each other like this every day in practice.’’
Bracken and Troy are teammates on the school’s varsity lacrosse team, one a scorer, the other a defender. There are plenty of varsity athletes involved in this annual event, held after school over the two weeks that precede Thanksgiving week. But there are plenty of students from La Salle’s endless array of other activities who participate as well. Art, Theater, Robotics, Speech and Debate Club – this bragging-rights tournament offers yet another opportunity for La Salle students to get to come together as friends outside of the classroom.
This year’s Turkey Bowl had 43 teams, each made up of eight to 10 players. That’s a record, said Marie Stott, Assistant Dean of Student Life. Each student had to pony up $5 for the right to play, and the $1,639.00 collected was donated to the Student Council/Mission and Ministry Thanksgiving Food Drive. This year’s event also drew camera crews from four local television stations – NBC10, CBS3, FOX29, and 6ABC.
Once the champion was crowned, a team of brave faculty members took the field for a game against a team of students. In the past, this has inspired Robert Johnson, the Director of Multimedia, to admittedly use ``alternate facts’’ when reporting the result on Twitter. But this year’s victory over a team dominated by those in student government resulted in a faculty win, so no alternative was needed.
When all the games concluded and the trophy was presented to the seniors by Marie Stott, hot dogs were served up by La Salle’s Dean of Student Life Charles Cirelli and Brother James Butler, the School President.
The tournament is run by the junior class, whose Student Council Members officiate all of the games with the exception of their own class. Senior Student Council Members step in there, but with a 10-minute clock, offsides, interference -- even out-of-bounds calls -- are often waived for the sake of continuity.
That put junior Class President Darold DeNgohe in the crosshairs of angered students on several occasions throughout the event. But at 6-3, 260 pounds, the First team Catholic League Defensive End was amused by the occasional outrage rather than unnerved.
``They have their little arguments, but nothing crazy,’’ he said. ``It’s kind of part of the fun.’’
Overall, the funds raised from the Turkey Bowl helped support our annual #EveryCanCounts Thanksgiving Food Drive – our community donated over 23,000 non-perishable food items to support St. Vincent’s Food Pantry in Germantown and other local charities.