Call it revenge or sweet redemption, last year’s Pink and White game was suspended because of lightning, and there was a bit of controversy with Assumption winning for the fourth time in five years.
There was no lightning this year, it was hard to find a cloud in the sky, and Sacred Heart’s flag football team cruised past their archrival 27-12 to end a two game skid in the 11th version of the game at Trinity’s Marshall Stadium Friday night.
“I’m so proud of my athletes,” Sacred Heart head coach Marc Breit said. “They have worked so hard, they play different sports, and they made big sacrifices to make the practices. It showed, they executed on the field.”
A total of 5,000 fans attended and the game was sold out by Wednesday afternoon.
Soccer star turned quarterback Kiley Polk stole the show with three total touchdowns, two on the ground with runs of 59 and 22 yards, and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to basketball star and Indiana signee Grace Berger.
“Oh man,” Assumption head coach Wayne West said of Polk. “When she gets moving, it’s hard to pull that flag. That’s not an easy thing to do especially when you have a player that runs as fast as she does. There’s a reason she’s going to the University of Louisville to play soccer.”
Polk, who is a U of L signee, wasn’t even supposed to start at quarterback last week, but fellow soccer teammate and U of L signee Cassie Amshoff tore her ACL in practice.
“We had two months of practice with a bunch of girls that had never played the game together before,” Breit said. “You only get to practice four times a week. Then imagine, losing your starting quarterback game week that was hard. We had to make some adjustments and we went with our strengths. Our players were resilient and we made plays.”
Polk had five runs that were longer than 10 yards and didn’t throw an interception.
“I wanted to do this for Cassie,” Polk said. “I was really nervous at first, but I knew I had to do it for the team and especially for her since she’s one of my closest friends and it was heartbreaking when she went down. I did it for her tonight.”
Kia Sivils (basketball) had a rushing score for the other Sacred Heart touchdown.
“This win means everything to us,” Sivils said. “The record was 5-5 and now we’re 6-5. To be able to break that record is amazing to accomplish that.”
Quarterback Taylor Allen (quarterback) anchored the Assumption offense and threw a touchdown pass, ran for a touchdown, and had two interceptions.
“This has been my dream ever since I was in the seventh grade and went to my first PinkWhite game,” Allen said. “Seeing all the pink out here and the love and support for my school, I had the best time; this was the best night of my high school experience.”
Caroline Flaherty (basketball) and Courtney Klein (field hockey) had the two picks for the Valkyries.
“It was awesome,” Flaherty said. “Once it was in my hands, I knew I had it, and I was so excited.”
Sacred Heart went up 20-0 in the first half.
“I think they came out with better composure than us,” West said. “We came out rattled and made several; penalties. We calmed them down at halftime and we played significantly better in the second half and outscored them. It was that early start that got to us.”
Polk’s 12-yard touchdown run and PAT run made it 7-0 with 7:03 to go in the first quarter.
“The starting quarterback gets about 70 percent of the reps,” Breit said. “Kiley stepped up and she played really well.”
Sivils 6-yard touchdown run and Polk’s PAT run gave the Valkyries a 14-0 lead with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter.
“Our game plan was to take what the defense gives us,” Sivils said. “And score when we had a chance.”
Polk threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Berger with no time left on the clock to put Sacred Heart up 20-0 at halftime.
“We had done that play a million times in practice,” Berger said. “I knew Kiley had a great arm and she made a perfect throw so all I had to do was catch it.”
Allen’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Kamryn Lococo (field hockey) pulled Assumption within 20-6 with 17.9 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I think that was the best part,” Allen said. “I was with 24 girls that I had never played on a team with. We bonded so well and these are my 24 sisters. I would have not been able to do anything tonight without them.”
The play of the drive was when Allen connected with Kennedy Cline (soccer) who did a lateral to Alyssa Campisano (soccer) for a 20-yard gain.
“This is one of those teams where the girls got along the entire two months that we practiced,” West said. “That made it awesome, they had a really good attitude, and were a fun group to coach.”
The Valkyries weren’t finished. Polk dazzled the crowd with a 59-yard touchdown run to put Sacred Heart up 27-6 with 12:46 to play.
“It was just a run play,” Polk said. “I saw an opening and cut around two people and I had some great blocking that helped me get to the end zone.”
Allen’s 3-yard touchdown run with 7:00 to go determined the final score.
While this game means everything to the Assumption and Sacred Heart players the reason the game exist is because four schools want to find a cure for cancer.