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The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

The Student News Site of Encinal High School

Horizon News

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Senior Reagan Caoili warms up her throwing arm on September 7.
Inaugural flag football season kicks off
Maleia Ferguson, Horizon Staff • September 14, 2023

Inaugural flag football season kicks off

Senior+Reagan+Caoili+warms+up+her+throwing+arm+on+September+7.
Mr. Linville
Senior Reagan Caoili warms up her throwing arm on September 7.

On September 14th Encinal High School played its first girl’s flag football game at Tennyson High School. Early this year, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) made history by officially sanctioning flag football as an official high school girls’ sport.

The team is led by head coach Juanita Lyons. Lyons coaches several sports at EHS and is co-athletic director. Last fall, Lyons was inducted into the Virginia State Hall of Fame.

“I like coaching, I figured that it would be a great opportunity to learn with the girls as we’re going and give them a better opportunity, especially for some that don’t do sports,” said Lyons. “This season, I just want the girls to get better and build confidence in their abilities. If we win on top of that then that’s just icing on the cake.”

According to NFHS studies, girls’ flag football in high schools doubled to 11,000 leading up to 2018-19. Recent studies show numbers are on the rise again. At least 22 state offer girls’ flag football programs.

Before the season started at least eight students gathered on the football field for conditioning. After open-tryouts, the team roster grew to 16 players.

“I’m ready to show everybody what we got and how hard we’ve been working on the field,” Sophomore Lauren Marston said. “I’m excited, we’re the first ones to do [flag football], we’re making history.”

The team consists of all high school grades, which many players found intimidating and admitted took some getting used to after their first practice. Despite this, the team is forming bonds with one another

“We’re all so friendly, we all get along and even sing together and are good people. Our first practice–all of us were kinda shy, I went in the summer so I started kinda early,” Junior Phoebe Cooper said. “I wanted to try a new sports team and I thought it’d be interesting to be a part of our school’s first flag football team.”

Other teammates agree.

“We are good at communicating and a very loud and energetic group, so I feel like it’s really good,” said Junior Jazzy Alcantar.

Many players felt that it was about time the CIF recognized girl’s flag football as an official sport. Quarterback, Isabelle Lu shared her sentiments right before the team’s first scrimmage Jamboree at Mt. Eden Saturday, the 9th; going 2-0-1 against Mt. Eden (18-6), S. Leandro (12-12), and Piedmont (14-13).

“[How do you feel that the CIF is just now making girls’ flag football an official high school sport?]

“I think it’s a good thing. It’s a good opportunity for girls to be able to play football and have the same opportunities as the men,” said Junior Isabelle Lu.

When asked the same question, Coach Lyons maintained a similar position.

“Better late than never, I figured we have to start somewhere, glad they are starting now and it’ll progress into something bigger later on in life,” said Coach Lyons.

Coach Lyons wants her players to come out confident in their skills and focus for their first game on the 14th.

“I’m most hopeful that the girls are gonna show up and play like we’ve been practicing,” said Coach Lyons. “They better show up and be ready to play.”

About the Contributor
Maleia Maxine Ferguson is a 10th grader this year and will graduate with the class of 25. She goes by she/her pronouns and is a first-year publications staff! She is on the school’s tennis team and loves writing, crocheting, listening to music, reading, and hanging out with her friends.
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