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The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Girls flag football kicks off

photo by Nadia Knoblauch
Head coach David Attaway explains the next drill to the girls at tryouts. Focusing on the basics of the game, Attaway must teach the team proper plays and strategies before their game against Oviedo on Feb. 20.

Senior Gabriela Jones watched her pass soar through the air at the perfect arc.

Then, she watched as it hit the ground.

For girls flag football, everything is new to many players—including catching. And like the players, the game is new to Seminole County Public Schools.

Announced at the beginning of the school year by the Seminole Athletic Conference, the girls flag football team has now been added to the long list of spring sport options. Following the implementation of the sport in Orange County and Volusia County, all Seminole County public high schools created teams this year. When school resource officer and assistant athletic director David Attaway heard of this push last year, he immediately volunteered to coach the team.

“I’m excited. I like to build a program and be the first,” Attaway, who played flag football for 10 years, said. “I’d love to win the first conference championship—I have high hopes. [The team] is good, they’re solid.”

On Monday and Tuesday, tryouts for the inaugural team were held on the practice field, where around 40-50 students came out for a shot. After going over the basics of defensive and offensive plays and rules of the game, the girls worked on snapping, dodging and catching the ball in addition to running the ball through defenders.

I’m excited. I like to build a program and be the first. [The team] is good, they’re solid.

— David Attaway, girls flag football head coach

Thursday afternoon, the first list of 25 players was announced for the team. However, Attaway has 11 more players lined up to try out for the team. With sports such as cheerleading, soccer and weightlifting nearing the end of their seasons, many interested athletes will be trying out for the team over the course of the next two weeks, according to Attaway.

Similar to these athletes, Attaway has had to balance his own scheduling conflicts, as he also coached the boys and girls weightlifting teams. While the girls team has 10 days left of their season, the boys’ season just got started. However, Attaway has been able to rely on his assistant coaches on both teams to aid him when scheduling overlaps arise. Despite his coaching experience, Attaway looks forward to coaching a team sport in comparison to the individual competition of weightlifting.

“This will be fun to have a team sport. In weightlifting, you know who’s going to win before you go because everybody has the numbers. [But] this, you never know what could happen,” Attaway said.

With their first practice scrimmage being held today, Attaway anticipates getting the season started. The first game of the season will be on Tuesday, Feb. 20 against Oviedo High School, giving the team just under three weeks to prepare. Attaway’s main focus as of now is to solidify the team’s understanding of the game and plays, as many are new to the sport.

“Our opener is against our crosstown rival, so I have to teach them how to play together,” Attaway said.

 For many, the annual homecoming powderpuff game served as a catalyst to join. Led by girls flag football assistant coach Chandel Coffie, the powderpuff game gave students only a taste of what the sport can offer.

“I heard about [the team] from my friends who did powderpuff with me. Initially, I thought that it was cool they were introducing a new sport to the school, and I wondered whether it would be as competitive as the others. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try out soon after hearing about it,” senior flag football player Belinda Vo said.

Initially, I thought that it was cool they were introducing a new sport to the school, and I wondered whether it would be as competitive as the others. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try out soon after hearing about it.

— Belinda Vo, senior flag football player

In addition to many of the girls looking forward to playing with their friends, the team also serves as an outlet for students to improve their fitness in a positive environment.

“I’m not an athlete, but I feel like this will grow my athleticism because it’ll help my speed and reaction time,” Vo said.

Even for students who already have athletic experience, they saw the team as a way to improve their overall athleticism and challenge abilities that aren’t as emphasized in their other sports. For senior Mina Stephens, who played on the varsity volleyball team as a libero, she hopes to have her limits pushed.

“Flag football will help my agility and cardio because of the running, but it will also challenge me mentally as learning a new sport can be difficult and take time,” Stephens said.

Similar to Stephens, Jones, who played as the powderpuff quarterback her junior year, has found similarities in flag football to recreational softball, which Jones played throughout her adolescence.

“[Softball] gave me my throwing arm. Knowing that I’m pretty decent at that, I wanted to represent Hagerty,” Jones said.

Although powderpuff gave Jones a solid understanding of the game, she finds differences between the plays and structure. In comparison to powderpuff, where up to 40 players are traded in and out to get playing time, flag football will focus more on skill than numbers.

Preparing for their first match against Oviedo will take up the majority of players’ weeks, with practice Monday through Friday after school and on Saturday mornings. Although they will be playing Oviedo’s team, the game will take place at Lake Brantley High School. For each match, which will regularly take place on Tuesday nights, multiple teams from across the county will play at the same location, giving the team a chance to see how other school’s compare.

“It’s more competitive,” Jones said. “I’m most looking forward to the games, especially our first against Oviedo.”



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Nadia Knoblauch, Editor-in-chief
Nadia Knoblauch is a senior at Hagerty High School and this is her third year on staff. Nadia has strong passions for journalism and activism, serving as the Vice Chair of Communications for the Florida Scholastic Press Association and Florida Coalition Leader for the United Nations’ Girl Up Initiative. She was named FSPA's Emerging Young Journalist in 2022 and hopes to study Political Science and Journalism in college.
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