MORRISTOWN, NJ — Forty-five Morristown High School students are ready to take the gridiron and become part of history. They’ll comprise of one of eight teams in the newly formed New Jersey High School Girls Flag Football League, sponsored by the Jets and Nike.
The league will begin play this spring. Each participating school will receive an $11,000 grant, plus equipment from the Jets and Nike to cover all expenses for the program.
This is the first high school girls flag football league in New Jersey, according to the Jets. League organizers have a longterm goal to get the sport adopted into official high school statewide competitions.
The Jets and Nike announced the league’s formation Wednesday. But Morristown High School joined talks about participating last fall.
“We were working with the Jets and the United Way back in the fall to renew our weight room,” said MHS Athletic Director Smitty Horton. “The conversation started at that time as we were very interested in giving our athletes another avenue to compete.”
Forty-five student-athletes have already signed up to express interest in playing, Horton told Patch. MHS will compete against the following teams:
- East Orange Campus (East Orange)
- Indian Hills High School (Oakland)
- Irvington High School (Irvington)
- Malcolm X Shabazz High School (Newark)
- Passaic County Technical Institute (Wayne)
- Ramapo High School (Franklin Lakes)
- William L. Dickinson High School (Jersey City)
It often makes headlines when a female football player contributes at a high level. Most recently, Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5-conference college football game.
But a look beyond the headlines shows more women and girls playing football throughout. Ohio University research published in 2020 said high school football participation among girls increased from 658 athletes in the 1999-2000 season to more than 1,700 in 2013-14.
Although flag football in New Jersey has plenty of room for growth, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) touted the new league in which Morristown High School will compete.
“Although flag football isn’t a sanctioned sport in New Jersey for boys or girls, NJSIAA applauds the Jets for creating additional opportunities for female student-athletes,” said Colleen Maguire, COO of the NJSIAA. “NJSIAA believes kids are best served by being active and engaged, and we salute the team’s efforts.”
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