BATAVIA — There may be a girls’ flag football team using the turf at Van Detta Stadium this coming spring — if there are enough interested athletes for it and if the Board of Education gives its blessing in January.
With the 2023 flag football season to start in March, Athletic Director Mike Bromley asked about having a board vote next month.
Bromley and six student-athletes attended the board’s meeting this week.
“If it’s going to start in March, we’re going to want to have this decided on in January. You don’t want to wait until February for this,” said board President John Marucci at Monday’s session.
“In my eyes … get your signup list going and see what the potential is of female athletes who want to do this,” Marucci said. “If we can get a large enough number, ladies, that’s where you come in, let’s get this going. It’s up to you guys to talk to your friends and say ‘Hey, come sign up. Let’s make this work.”
With New York state having just started offering flag football as an athletic option for girls, Mike Bromley started getting emails asking about flag football.
Currently, we have 28 sports in our district,” he said. Fourteen of those are male sports, 13 are female sports and bowling is co-ed.
Eight schools had teams last year in the first season of NYSPHSAA-sanctioned flag football, including three teams from the same league as Batavia — East Ridge, Irondequoit and Spencerport. Another 22 schools have said they would like to try flag football in the future.
Board member Alice Ann Benedict asked how the eight teams did.
“What they did is they ended up playing a Section 5 schedule. They just played four or five games and … one against Section 6,” Bromley said. “The Buffalo Bills were involved with it too. There was actually some money from the Buffalo Bills to start this. That money’s not there this year.
“I think it’s going to be much bigger this year and it’s going to continue to grow,” Bromley said.
The game is set up as a seven-on-seven lineup on a regular field, using a minimum of 40 yards. Batavia would use the turf at Van Detta Stadium, he said. The district would have to buy certified flag belts for all the players and teams would use a youth-size football. Each game lasts 48 minutes, with two 24-minute halves and a five-minute halftime break. According to the Section 5 website, a team scores a touchdown when a forward pass is completed or a fumble or backward pass is caught behind the opponent’s goal line or when a player is legally in possession of the ball and penetrates the vertical plane of the opponent’s goal line. For extra points, teams can earn a point by scoring from the 3-yard line, two points from the 10-yard line and three points from the 20-yard line.
“It’s going to take a person that knows a little bit about football to coach that. That would be something we would have to look for — a person that would like to coach,” Bromley said. “In some districts, that has meant the head football coach. They’ve gone ahead and coached in the spring. I’m not sure what that looks like for our district, but I know there are some people who would be interested in coaching.”
Currently, for girls, Batavia offers three levels of softball and three levels of track and field in the spring.
“I had 10 girls come to me from grades nine through 12 and say that they are interested in this,” Bromley said of flag football.