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Jupiter High School cancels popular powderpuff football game

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A skirmish has broken out in the small town of Jupiter, Fla., over whether the girl students at Jupiter High School have made their last tackle.

Town officials are fighting to preserve the 50-year-old powderpuff football game, which has been canceled by. Principal Dan Frank because of safety concerns after a girl broke her leg in recent years and there have been bruises and sprains.

Around the country, there are thousands of powderpuff games, but most of those are flag football games. At Jupiter, the girls play tackle.

Frank’s decision was not popular. The powderpuff game fills the stands and raises some $7,000 a year.

In an attempt to save the game, town manager Andy Lukasik has planned to rent the field for a game later in the month. The original game was scheduled for tonight. Parents are raising money for insurance.

Councilman Jim Kuretski said his daughter played in the game, too. He said it was “a bunch of nonsense’’ that the game was canceled in the first place.

“I’m not ready to give up on this year. It’s a tradition,’’ said Kuretski. He persuaded the council to vote to direct Lukasik to reach out to the school district so the girls could “use the school field at the request of the town” under an existing so-called “interlocal agreement” between the town and school.

“The game makes our town special. It is a once in a lifetime or maybe twice in a lifetime opportunity. You can’t come back when you are 30 and play,” said Haley Osborne.

“Student safety is my first priority,” Frank said in a statement. “The narrow window of time for student preparation and practice, and the limited availability of properly fitting safety equipment would put our students at risk.”

Frank confirmed that he has asked the district to help determine whether the game could be resumed at some point.

“The car ride to the game is more dangerous,” said Lori Walsh. “We are not giving them a loaded gun to play with. We are giving them a ball.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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