Calvary Day’s Chad Griffin coaches boys and girls soccer at his school, and when the GHSA introduced girl’s flag football as a new sport this year, the athletic director took on another head coaching role — hoping to build another strong program at a school known for athletic excellence.
It’s been a challenge for players and coaches learning the ins and outs of a new sport — and the Cavs have enjoyed the ride. On Saturday, Calvary Day beat visiting Harris County 7-0 to advance to the Class A-5A semifinals set for Wednesday at the Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Cavs will face Northside Columbus at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s been so much fun — the girls are excited to be out here doing something outside the norm,” Griffin said. “Almost all of our girls play other sports. They are used to playing a mainstream sport and what that’s all about — but the concepts of flag football are different.”
Calvary Day’s highly-regarded girls basketball team, ranked No. 10 among Class A Private teams in the state by Sandysspiel.com, is well represented on the football team with sophomore Hannah Cail playing quarterback and Mahkayla Premo and Nevaeh Hamilton playing as running back/receivers.
“I think their ability to see the floor on the basketball court translates well to seeing the field in football, and that has helped us a lot,” Griffin said.
Calvary’s season ends in football semis:Calvary Day’s season ends in a defensive battle with Trinity Christian in state semis
The Cavaliers used some razzle dazzle to score the only touchdown of the game when Cail pitched back to Premo, who pulled up to throw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Emma Crosby on a 4th and goal on the Cavs first drive of the second half.
“I had played Powder Puff football each year, but this is different, and it’s a lot of fun to be able to represent your school and compete against other teams,” Crosby said. “We’re taking it serious, but we’re having a lot of fun.”
Cail, one of the top young basketball players in Savannah, said the girls on the team are already close — and that has helped with chemistry.
“We have a lot of athletes from other sports and already have relationships, so that has worked out well,” Cail said. “When we started, we never thought we’d make the Final Four, but now it’s serious.”
Griffin said assistant coach Nick Grassi, a former Calvary Day linebacker who has played adult flag football since he graduated, has been a key to the team’s success.
“He understands all the nuances of the game and teaches them to the girls,” Griffin said.
Calvary improved to 4-0-2 with the win. The defense has been rock solid in the playoffs – beating Stockbridge 19-6 in the first round, followed by a 9-0 shutout of Carver and the shutout of Harris County Saturday. Calvary had interceptions by Carlee Hurst and Katie Ellenwood in the win.
“Our rushers Maggie Presley and Morgan Soukhamneut keep pressure on the quarterback and our linebackers Carlee Hurst and Lily Frye cover the flats well and pull a lot of flags. That lets our defensive backs Katie Ellenwood and Madi Carswell keep everything in front of them,” Griffin said.
Dennis Knight covers sports for the Savannah Morning News. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN