MHS’ 2021 Turkey Bowl… Rigged?


The Turkey Bowl was far from boring and the end result was very controversial. The results of the game presented the question… was Turkey Bowl rigged?

Turkey Bowl, a Manchester High School tradition, is a flag football game between the junior (this year’s class of ’23) and senior (this year’s class of ’22) girls taking place every year around Thanksgiving. There are also cheerleaders which consist of junior and senior boys for support and to hype up the crowd. 

This game was different from the others; there were students as announcers, cheerleaders dressed up in all black suits and paint, and support from other classes (‘24 and ‘25) as well as other schools. The final score from the game was 30-24 and the juniors stormed back down 24-12, scoring 18 unanswered points which led to a junior’s win over the seniors. 

The class of ‘23 split the ball evenly amongst their team with touchdowns from Olivia Ramsdell, Riley Boilard, Mackenzie Hall, and two big scores from Kayla Berube. 

The class of ‘22 gave multiple players opportunities as well with a touchdown each from Daisy Gonzalez and Katie Mohr, and two touchdowns from Marisa Salinas.

Daisy Gonzalez of the senior team started the game off huge for her team with a long touchdown, absolutely torching the defense. “When the first group went out on the field we knew he had to set the tone for the game and we were giving it our all…I knew I had to get past Olivia Ramsdell [a junior player] and once I did that and just kept running, I scored the first touchdown and the excitement that brought the seniors got us all hyped up and it was a great feeling,” she said.

Circling back to one of the most important plays of the game, with 2 minutes and 5 seconds left at the score of 24-24, Mackenzie Hall ripped a cutback up the middle of the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown for the juniors.

“Scoring the last touchdown was super fun and I think it was such a good experience for everyone on the team…but winning and seeing every single person cheering for each other was such a fun thing to feel and see,” Hall said.

It seems the juniors had an uplift of team spirit due to the amount of chemistry they had with each other and it showed with the result of the game. The high-scoring battle between both teams brought a surge of cheers and a huge amount of school spirit. 

Antwhan Diaz – a student from Pathways Academy of Technology and Design in East Hartford – said, “I loved the game. There were a lot of exciting plays and the stands were matching the energy as well.”

There was no shortage of energy in the match between the juniors and seniors players as well as the cheerleaders and the fans. When the time expired and the class of ‘23 won, the junior players and cheerleaders stormed the field and celebrated.

Shortly after, the rumors and Instagram posts started to take place and the question started to arise. Were the referees cheating in favor of the juniors? After the game, there were many social media posts and comments about the game, claiming the refs’ calls were biased towards the juniors. The phrase “run it back” was popular amongst seniors after the loss. Clearly, after the result of the game, there was some tension between the two teams which caused these remarks. 

Spectator Diaz said, “Personally, I don’t think the refs were being biased towards any side.”

Senior cheerleader Aaron Lemoine agrees, stating “I do not think the game was biased.” Hearing unbiased opinions from reliable sources debunked the rumor of bias in the game’s officiating; it was a clean game for both teams.

Connor Ruganis and his fellow junior cheerleaders dressed as one unit, wearing all black bodysuits for the whole team aspect. He was excited and confident in his class and there was an extreme amount of support and confidence from the cheerleaders on to the players.

“I was more than confident with our players, we have a really great group of girls that both are athletic and have a high IQ when it comes to sports. I think our dedication and our extra practice really paid off. I strongly believe that we will go undefeated in the Turkey Bowl… meaning the class of ‘24 get ready because we are stepping on the gas, no breaks,” Ruganis said.

“The result was nothing any of us expected, but like last night there were a lot of things that were unexpected. It was a great joy to coach you [the seniors] and be able to have such a great experience in my first year with Turkey Bowl,” senior coach Pizzoferrato said.

Overall, the experience for the fans, cheerleaders, and players was positive. MHS’s Turkey Bowl gains a lot of support from its students. The results and feedback from this one event evidently increase school spirit. Congratulations to the class of 2023 on their victorious 4th quarter comeback, ending with a score of 30-24.