Middle schoolers clash in Pumpkin Bowl IX
St. Croix Central Middle School football players took to the field on Tuesday night under the lights and in front of packed stands for the ninth annual Pumpkin Bowl.
The White Lightning streaked to a 14-8 victory over the Blue Thunder. Both teams were a mix of the 60 seventh and eighth graders out for football.
The night began before the teams set foot on the grass. There was a family picnic dinner at 5:30 p.m. Eighth grade football coach Gary Larson said about 260 people were fed.
Food costs were taken care of by the High School Booster parents group, as well as donations by parents themselves, said Larson. Barbecues were prepared by Sue Frank's Family and Consumer Education classes. Food serving was done by the two middle school coaches.
Larson said the dinner is a good opportunity to meet the players' families and take pictures.
In past years, the game was played on the High School field but this year it was moved to the Middle School's field. Larson said since the grass is new at the High School, they wanted to stay off of it as much as possible.
That didn't stop people driving by from thinking it was a varsity game. With the lights on and the crowd surrounding the field, the Pumpkin Bowl took on the appearance of a Friday night High School game.
Larson said the Pumpkin Bowl has grown, turning into a fun night out for families. There are more grandparents and other relatives coming each year.
"The first years weren't really a big deal but now it's really getting to be a big deal," said Larson.
This probably won't be the last of the Pumpkin Bowls.
Larson said, "It's a fun night and the kids enjoy it."