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The Super Bowl Before The Super Bowl

The scene was the stuff of dreams: Big, falling snowflakes, sunny skies, and full teacher endorsement to play. A great audience of familiar faces from every grade had arrived, ready to cheer. It had been the steady talk of 3rd and 4th grades for several days now. It was The Super Bowl Before The Super Bowl: 3rd vs 4th grade.

Those of us fortunate enough to attend learned a few things. We learned that the Academy has some capable quarterbacks in Jacob Paulson and Jaxton Frank; the first is a ready game manager, the second has a real cannon of an arm. We also learned this: Don’t underestimate those 3rd graders! Sure, they were the smaller team, but they came with elaborate plays and complex defensive schemes to make up for that. Oh, and if we learned anything at all, it was this: Don’t leave Kinsley open! If the 3rd graders made a mistake, that was it.

But such a mistake wasn’t big enough to wholly turn the tables, because this Super Bowl wasn’t so different than the one that followed it: It ended in a tie. And the results from the second overtime? Well, those are still disputed. Naturally, the 3rd graders recall winning – and so do the 4th graders. The talk of it has continued, of course. Here is what the players themselves have to say:

Jaxton Frank, 4th grade

“It was super fun! When I saw the whole school come out to watch, I got a little nervous, but I still had so much fun.”

Ella Manuel, 4th grade

“That everybody came out to cheer was really great. The cheerleaders – we were lifting one another and going on each other’s shoulders. We all had a lot of fun.”

Davis Peachey, 4th grade

“We could’ve avoided a lot of our penalties (remembering the game itself). That was one of our team’s takeaways. It was really fun that everyone came out and watched us, and that we went into double overtime – and won.”

Finn Flaherty, 3rd Grade

“We won – they’re jealous, since we’re younger. Really fun though; a fair game.”

Archie Lard, 3rd Grade

“What do I remember? Our lock down defense, big first downs, and Jacob’s interception (that he caught).”


Stephen Chain, 3rd Grade

“It was really exciting, and it was really happy at the end, when I caught the touchdown.”

Veronica Eisenbarth, 3rd Grade

“The whole school came out. It was really fun – it felt like the real Super Bowl.”

It isn’t hard to spot a theme here: This Super Bowl was simply fun. It’s the kind of thing that will be repeated, and for good reason. Reading the classics, dissecting deer hearts, and learning our math fundamentals are all essential here. But to know how to play, and to play well? That’s essential to an Academy education, too. It’s no surprise everyone left the field as winners.


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