BUTTE — Butte High senior Jaedin Williams would love for the sport of high school girls flag football — now wrapping up its second season in Montana — to become a sanctioned sport by the Montana High School Association.
"That would be really cool, especially because I have three younger siblings," she said. "One of them is a boy, but the two others are girls. I feel they'd have a lot of fun doing this, too."
After a pilot program season in 2022 that saw Butte High, Kalispell Flathead and Kalispell Glacier compete — with the Wolfpack winning the inaugural championship — St. Ignatius and Lockwood fielded teams during this second season.
All five teams will be at Naranche Stadium on Thursday afternoon to play a single-elimination tournament to determine the second-year champion.
Top-seeded Glacier, No. 2 Flathead and No. 3 Lockwood will receive first-round byes. No. 4 St. Ignatius will play No. 5 Butte in a 3 p.m. opening-round game with that winner facing Glacier in the semifinals. Flathead and Lockwood will face off in the other semi. The championship is set for 6:15 p.m.
The Bulldogs are underdogs but hope that home-field advantage will give them an edge on Thursday.
"I feel like it's going to help us a lot," said junior Hailey Hotalen. "I feel like it's going to encourage the girls to play better than they usually do."
With the second Montana flag football season about to wrap up, the hope is that this sport continues to gain traction, grow in popularity and become certified by the MHSA. A proposal to sanction flag football is expected to be presented to the MHSA at its annual meeting.
"We're going try to get up as much attention and interest as we can," said Butte coach Steve Shahan. "Get as many schools on board as possible so hopefully one day we can get that MHSA certification."