ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – In 2021, the Chicago Bears and Chicago Public Schools launched a first-of-its-kind high school girls flag football league. After a successful start, organizers expanded the league to include more CPS teams, along with expanding its reach to the West Suburbs and Rockford schools. The Rockford Park District along with area schools launched a five-team Rockford League which included the four RPS High Schools and a Rockford Co-op team to allow other Stateline students to participate.
On Saturday, after going 5-1, Guilford is set to represent the Rockford League at this weekend’s 2022 Girls Flag Football State tournament. Guilford’s lone senior this season, Tiondra Henry, said many have been surprised by the team’s success.
“It feels amazing honestly because nobody really thought we would get this far and the boys football team didn’t think we’d get this far when we said ‘oh, we have State on Saturday’ they’re like ‘what?’ they’re surprised because we’re lowkey better than them,” Henry said.
“The girls have really impressed me because we have only have one young lady that has played in the NFL Flag Program, she’s a sophomore and she’s the only one, the rest of the girls are all new to the sport and have adapted very well to it,” Head Coach Gregory Taylor said.
Along with being a head coach, Taylor works for the Rockford Park District and helped organize the Rockford League.
“We have been working hard with the (Chicago) Bears…and we’ve been working together with Lamont Jones (Rockford Park District General Manager) and myself in trying to get the program started, as soon as we decided we would have it, I jumped on it and said I would be the head coach here at Guilford to help get everything started and to also help the other schools get started,” Taylor said.
The hope is for girls flag football to become an IHSA-sanctioned sport by 2024. As for the Stateline, the next step are to get each NIC-10 school a team and to add more schools from there.
“I’m really glad we do have a program for the ladies and I hope that it does expand to all of the schools in the NIC-10 and outside of the NIC-10 as well,” Taylor said.
Guilford is set to play Taft in the semifinal game Saturday at 6:45 p.m. with both the third-place game and Championship games set for later that night. You can find the viewing links to watch each game below.
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