Flag Football Kicks-Off with Pre-Season Conditioning

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Kylie Hoaglin

With spring sports approaching, Hillsborough County offers female students the chance to play their own season of football. Girl’s Flag Football conditioning officially started on Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at Gaither High School Death Valley Stadium and is open for girls interested in joining the team. 

Girls Flag Football Head Coach, Zachary Sechrist announced that official tryouts will be the first week of February. Dates and times to be determined.

Sechrist emphasized the importance of a good candidate for the team.

“I think the one thing our teams have been missing since I took over two season ago is competitiveness. I am looking for athletes who love to compete- in everything they do. I want them to want to give their best all the time. Flag football is a growing sport still but you can now receive college scholarships for this sport. More and more athletes are getting involved so speed matters. You don’t have to be a track star but having the ability to move around the field quickly gives you some competitive advantage,” said Sechrist. 

As the program at Gaither expands, so do the opportunities for participating students.

“As I mentioned before this is a growing sport that is now providing opportunities at the next level. Additionally I believe it is one of the safer sports to play not only in terms of physical injury but also keeping COVID in mind. We are outside and enjoying Florida “winters”. It is a lot of fun being out on the field throwing around the football and competing,” said Sechrist. 

Being competitive on the field and always trying your best can give you advantages, especially with COVID impacting this season’s schedule. 

“For the FHSAA officially runs from February 8th to April 17th. Regular season games start in March and will conclude in April. The school district has not released our game schedule yet but our district opponents remain the same as last year. We compete with Alonso, Sickles and Steinbrenner for the district title. This is a very tough district as Alonso is back to back State Champions and Steinbrenner is highly respected in the area. We have an uphill battle to upset one of those two powerhouses to make the playoffs,” said Sechrist. 

Even though this season has its differences, the team will still play against the same schools as usual.

For those who don’t have the chance to play this season or want to play for Gaither more, The school’s off-season summer league is a chance to do so.

“In the off season and we have competed in various leagues and tournaments that all run through AAU Sports. This past year was crazy because of COVID but the year before we competed in a USF tournament locally as well as spending a weekend in Gainesville for a tournament hosted by UF. This spring will be our third year participating in a preseason tournament that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host and we get to play at One Buc Place on the official fields that the Buccaneers use. There are a lot of really neat opportunities that being involved in Flag Football bring you,” said Sechrist. 

The previous teams have gotten far and have played at well-known fields in Florida.

Flag football is an engaging and competitive sport open for all girls to sign up at Gaither. If you are interested, turn in your athletic forms and email Coach Zachary Sechrist, [email protected]