ST. IGNATIUS — Following a homecoming powderpuff game last year, students at Mission High School wanted to create a girls flag football team. With the help of an NFL team, they made it happen.
"It was a blast. I had so much fun and ... ever since that game, I was like, 'Man, I really want to do flag football as a sport,'" said Amelia Cronk.
She loved the game so much that she decided to take matters into her own hands after a teacher suggested funding the new team through a grant from the Atlanta Falcons.
“He found out about this grant from an email that was sent out to quite a few schools and then he kind of passed the information on to me," Cronk said. "I looked at it and was like, 'Alright, we could actually do this.' So I went and took it to Sarge, our superintendent, and said, 'Hey, we have some interest in flag football,' and, yeah, it just kind of happened.”
Flag football is played with seven players on each side of the ball. It also requires a smaller field, and, instead of tackling, the defender rips off the opponent’s flag to stop them. Despite not being a school-sanctioned sport, head coach Jason Sargent says the team has only become more passionate.
“We’ve got a super athletic bunch of girls that love football. We’re learning, but we are pretty much just learning how to execute play, hand off, pitch, how to break down on tackles — fundamental football," Sargent said. "We have a ton to learn, but we’ve got a super athletic bunch of young ladies that are a quick study to the game.”
A decision on whether the sport will be sanctioned will likely come next year, and Cronk would be excited to see this happen for her school after her efforts to put the team together.
“That’s just really an exciting thought to think that I could be the person that started it for maybe a little girl in elementary who plays football every day at recess," Cronk said. "It just would be really cool if I saw that happen.”
Mission’s next games are on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Butte.