PENNSBURY >> Two days before the Super Bowl in Miami, Florida, fifth graders at Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School took part in their own “big game” on Friday.
For the 10th year, students laced up their sneakers and took to the grassy field next to their school in Falls Township for what has become a February school tradition - the Super Duper Bowl - a flag football game played the Friday before the Super Bowl.
In addition to having fun, learning good sportsmanship and fair play, which tie in with the school’s character education initiatives, students raised funds for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with a coin challenge and the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter in Levittown through a food collection.
Prior to the game, students, teachers and administrators gathered in the gym for a pre-game pep rally that included an introduction of each of the teams competing for the Super Duper Bowl Falcon Trophy and a guest appeared by the Philly Phanatic, who had everyone laughing with his crazy antics.
This year’s game pitted four teams against each other on the playing field - the Kean Kongs, the Toledano Tornadoes, The Melnick Masher and the Miller Mean Machine - each of which incorporates a fifth grade homeroom teacher into their name.
With teachers playing quarterback, players scrambled across the field, waving their hands through the air and begging for the pigskin to be thrown their way as their classmates and teachers in Pre-K to 4 waved signs and cheered from the sidelines.
For about an hour, the players looked for openings, caught passes thrown by their teachers and raced down the field to the goal line.
Cheering on the players from the sidelines was school principal Lisa Follman who was enjoying the school spirit and sportsmanship out on the field.
“This is something they’re going to remember long into the future,” she said. “The teams are doing great and I’m seeing everyone being safe, responsible and respectful.
“The one thing that’s really great about today is that the teachers are making it a point of sending that ball in the direction of every child so every child gets to have a moment,” said Follman.
The defending champions, the Kean Kongs, put up a good fight, but in the end victory this year went to the Miller Mean Machine.
Running away with this year’s MVP award was Austin Petry from the Toledano Tornadoes while the Miller Mean Machine claimed the coveted Super Duper Bowl Falcon trophy and post-game bragging rights after tallying the game’s most touchdowns.
“The best part of this 10 year tradition is the support of all of the faculty, staff, and community,” said teacher Jason Miller. “Having so many parents and former students coming out to support the game makes it extra special.”
Miller said over the years the game “has become much more than a chance to play a flag football game. It is an opportunity for the 5th graders to practice sportsmanship and create great memories with their classmates during their last year at E.R.”
Even more important, adds Miller, is the service component to the game. Collecting canned goods for the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter and coins for CHOP “help the students to understand the importance of giving back to those who are in need,” he said.
Following Friday’s game, the Kean Kongs continue to lead in the standings with eight championships under their belt, including one shared with the Melnick Mashers as a tie.
The Melnick Mashers have one championship shared with the Kean Kongs as a tie. And with this year’s win. Miller Mean Machine has two championships.