Bitter Root Health
They call him “Coach R.”
State champion quarterback Tyson Rostad takes over as coach of the junior women’s team for a puff game scheduled for this Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m. at the Hamilton Sports Complex.
“Don’t underestimate the girls,” he said during their first team practice on Monday night. “They get the game fast after a certain point. You just need a little patience and to come up with memorable names for the rooms.
Several of the girls on the junior and senior teams were cheerleaders last fall and watched their fair share of quality football during a championship season.
Cheerleader Sidney DeLong hosts the unique puff game for her senior community project and raises funds for “Team Pink” for the Colors of Cancer campaign. First Montana Title sponsored the event and donated funds to purchase dark pink shirts for the senior team and light pink shirts for the junior team.
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“It was fun to bring back an old tradition to Hamilton High School,” DeLong said. “Everyone begged me to organize a flag football match and the girls at our school were dying to play football.
“Footballers wanted the chance to get into a coaching job and they’re very passionate about it,” she said, “maybe a little too much, but it will be a lot of fun.”
Coach Rostad is joined by football teammates Caleb Bauder, Jonas Johnson, Tyler Jones, Isaiah VanDebaan and Noah Johnson. Drew Carmody also helps coach the senior girls.
“We’re learning four offensive plays,” Carmody said in Monday’s practice. “Once we have the rosters, we’ll perfect the plays more at our next practice.”
Former basketball cheerleader Catalina Alcrudo is an exchange student from Spain who skipped ballet practice on Monday to join the power puff team.
“I’m learning American football for the first time and it’s fun,” she said after practice. “I’m the one who says ‘grrrrr’ and protects Nat the quarterback.”
The seniors are the self-proclaimed underdogs of the game but are solidly led by cheerleader Natalie Orr who said it was great to learn more about the game and try some passing plays.
“The seniors are definitely the underdogs for this game,” DeLong said, “but we’re going to fight hard against the juniors. Layne Kearns will win everything for the juniors if she can. She’s played football before.
At halftime, those who have battled breast cancer will be recognized by a standing ovation in the stands.
“We encourage everyone who is or has been diagnosed with breast cancer to come out, wear pink and be an inspiration to each other and to us as students,” DeLong said. “We want to support those who have been through something so difficult and celebrate their victories.”
Also at half time there will be a pink football raffle for prizes. Fans can purchase pink soccer balls for $1 each at the fundraising tent near the bleachers. Pink cookies, bottled water and other concessions will also be on sale. Donations and ticket sales will be possible at the door or online at bitterroothealth.org/calendar/events/colors-of-cancer-powderpuff.
The cost to participate is $5 for adults and $2 for students. Kickoff will be at 3:00 p.m. at the Hamilton Sports Complex near Hamilton High School.
“Hopefully we’ll have a really good turnout,” DeLong said. “It should be sunny and it’s for a good cause.”
Proceeds will be used to build a new $4 million cancer and infusion center at Bitterroot Health’s Daly Hospital in Hamilton.
Other senior projects benefiting the cancer and infusion center include:
- A Colors of Cancer doubles tennis tournament on April 16 at Westview Courts hosted by HHS seniors Maria Kanenwisher and Brynn Lehtola.
- A Colors of Cancer golf course on May 13 at Hamilton Golf Club hosted by HHS seniors Jack Ellis and Colter Kirkland
Registrations for the three events can be found at bitterroothealth.org/EVENTS.