Last Saturday was the final Iowa Ladies Football Academy in Iowa City. For those who took part in any of the 10 that were held over the last decade, the memories will last a lifetime. The kids and families that were directly impacted are too numerous to count.

My wife, Julie, has looked forward to a single Saturday in June for years. An important family commitment kept her away from the Iowa Ladies Football Academy one time. Otherwise, she was there every year. Each time she'd come home with tons of stories to tell, photos and videos to share, and new favorite players to root for. This past Saturday was no different.

Each year, attendees got to take part in different things... there was a visit to the locker room, a chance to come down the tunnel with players and "swarm" onto the field. I think she'd tell you her favorite thing every year was the question and answer sessions. Last Saturday, during one of those sessions, quarterback Spencer Petras (#7) and defensive back Riley Moss (#33) showed their love for a particular Billy Joel song:

Riley was really into it.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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Some of the ladies got to suit up in the visitor's locker room (note the pink walls).

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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What's it like to come down the tunnel and out onto the Kinnick Stadium turf on game day? They got to find out, led by Kaevon Merriweather (#26), Riley Moss (#33), Gavin Williams (#25), Sam LaPorta (#84), and Spencer Petras (#7).

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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They were also led onto the field in "swarm" style, as the Hawkeyes do each time they enter the stadium.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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Petras also hammed it up with some of the ladies. From what I can tell, it took eight of them to make this tackle.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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It turns out Petras wasn't the only one who had to take a hit during the day of fun.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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My wife went with her friend, Laurie, who showed she has the hands of a wide receiver.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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After this Q&A session, my wife told Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker that he should be a stand-up comedian. She says that Parker, far left below, was hilarious.

Julie James
Julie James
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Julie was also able to get away from the light rain long enough to get a picture with the head Hawk, Kirk Ferentz.

Julie James
Julie James
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Former Hawkeye and NFL tight end Dallas Clark even showed up. Clark, who was recently unveiled as a 2022 Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, presented Mary and Kirk Ferentz with a charcuterie board as a thank you for everything the Ferentz family has done for the community. Mary was the person who came up with the idea of the Iowa Ladies Football Academy.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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My absolute favorite photo from last Saturday is the one below. It's current Iowa football players seated in front of their moms, with the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in the background. That photo says it all. How often have you heard the University of Iowa football program is like a family? A family that over the last 10 years has teamed up with other Iowans to raise an amazing $3 million for the kids and families treated by that hospital. No matter how great the memories that were made on those 10 Saturdays, that is what this has always been about.

Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
Brian Ray, Hawkeyesports.com
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Best Iowa Football Photos of the 2021 Season

The Hawkeyes went 7-3 in Big Ten play and 10-4 overall, including a New Year's Day loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl. Here are some of the best shots from throughout the year.

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