Richmond Hill’s girls flag football team will be on the road as a No. 4 seed for the opening round of the GHSA Division I playoffs.
The Wildcats (4-3 overall, 2-2 Area 2) will face Union Grove (4-1) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in McDonough. The Wolverines won the Area 3 championship to earn the top seed and are ranked No. 8 in the state in the Maxwell Ratings.
Flag football is in its first season and is the newest sport authorized by the GHSA. There are 96 schools in the state that fielded teams and there are two classifications made up of Division I and Division II schools.
Division I schools are Class 1A-5A while Division II is for Class 6A-7A schools. Richmond Hill and Effingham County were permitted to play in the lower classification because of their location. They are the only Class 6A schools in Coastal and South Georgia who field teams.
Calvary Day School (3-0-2) won the Area 2 race with Portal (2-1-1) followed by Dodge County (2-1-1) and Richmond Hill (2-2). Calvary will host Stockbridge at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Wildcats coach Tony Dragon said despite having to go on the road for the playoffs, he is more than happy with the season and the way his players took to the sport.
“It’s been a really fun experience,” said Dragon, who is also Richmond Hill’s tennis coach and up until this fall had been an assistant coach for the Wildcats football team. “The girls have worked hard and responded to coaching.
“It’s been a season of ups and downs, but we learned something new each game,” Dragon said. “The fun part was there was a lot of teaching and learning.”
“Unlike boys who have a background in football, the girls were learning everything from scratch. I have seen drastic improvement.”
Dragon believes there will be more teams playing next year as more schools and girls learn about it. He anticipates having about 35 players next year.
“I’ve had a lot of the high school girls ask me about playing next year,” Dragon said, “and we’ve got some eighth-graders who have asked me about playing.
“I would like to have a (junior varsity) team next year,” Dragon said. “But to do that we’ll need to add two more coaches. Coach (Tiffany) Gray and I can’t coach two teams.”
Offensively, the Wildcats are led by sophomore running back Kayla Jackson, who has ripped off several long runs for touchdowns, and quarterback Lucy Tuttle.
“So many girls have contributed it’s hard to single anyone out,” Dragon said. “Kayla is a big part of our offense, and defensively Kinsey Morales has really played well, and Gabby Lawson has been a real surprise at cornerback.”
The sport is fast paced and is played with a running clock which does not stop until one minute is left in each half. The field is 35-40 yards wide and 80 yards long.
Games are over quickly, and because of that, some teams will play two games on the same day with only one game counting in the standings.
Richmond Hill and Calvary, for example, played twice in one night. The Cavaliers won the first game 16-0, and the Wildcats the second 7-6. The loss does not reflect in the standings for the Cavaliers, who are not counting it on their overall record which is their prerogative.