Girls’ flag football grows in popularity across the CSRA
EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Over the summer, the Atlanta Falcons created grants to help high schools around the state of Georgia start or continue to grow their girls’ flag football programs.
With the sport becoming more popular with our local schools, teams from all over the CSRA hit the turf at Evans High School for the area playoffs.
A couple of years ago, having teams from all over the CSRA on the same gridiron, competing for a shot to go to the girls’ flag football state tournament was just a dream. Now, it’s reality.
“I’ve been playing this for four years since it started, and it’s just awesome how like it’s improving and it’s growing more and more throughout the years,” said Natalie Yau with the Lakeside Panthers.
Grovetown Head Coach Wesley Harrell said: “It’s crazy that the first year, I think they had maybe 20 girls. This past year, we had 95 girls at tryouts. I mean it’s growing rapidly around this area.”
Like all the other state championship games, this year the girls’ flag football state title game will be played at Mrecedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Amani Bryant with the Lakeside Panthers said: “All of these girls are amazing; they’ve been doing a lot. We’ve been out here for two hours, three hours every day, hot, cold, doing a lot of work, and I’m ready to go to the Benz and win.”
As this sport continues to grow, colleges are offering scholarships to build their own teams.
Harrell said: “I’m constantly on the phone with college coaches about this girl, or that girl wanting to go on to the next level, and I mean it’s great. Anytime you can get a girl to further her education through a sport, it’s just absolutely great.”
The Greenbrier Wolfpack is one of the highest-ranked teams in the state, and Sophomore Aaliyah Silver has been named the Atlanta Falcons Flag Football Player of the Week, for her outstanding play on the gridiron.
“I didn’t really expect this to happen because this is not my main sport. It’s nice to know that I can get recognized in different sports and not just the sports I play is really amazing. And I was pretty happy,” said Silver.
Greenbrier Head Coach Daniel Jordan said: “I think they’re starting to fall in love with it. And that’s been really cool. Maybe they didn’t grow up playing it but they’re starting to figure it out.”
With an increase in funding and exposure creating more opportunities, the sky’s the limit for girls’ flag football.
YAU said: “This sport is growing more and more and it’s only going to grow more and more. The fact that we have the opportunity, it’s just, it’s just good.”
By getting the job done on Tuesday night in the area round, Grovetown, Evans, Lakeside, and Greenbrier have all qualified for the state tournament as four of the final 32 teams still standing in the state.
All four of those Columbia County teams will play each other for state seeding on Thursday.
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