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The GHSA expects flag football to be ‘bigger and better’ next year

The football players exited the locker room and went up the dugout steps to the playing field, the enormity of Center Parc Stadium opening up before them. They saw the video scoreboard and television cameras positioned from all angles.

“We just seemed so tiny on that huge field,” recalled Calvary Day School junior Mahkayla Premo. “It was like, ‘Wow, we finally made it. This is crazy.’

“We thought, all right, this will be kind of cool. But actually stepping foot on the field itself was surreal.”

The Calvary Day School girls flag football team poses for a photo after defeating Portal 6-0 in the first-ever GHSA Class 1A-5A state championship game on Dec. 28, 2020 at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta.

Girls flag football became very real this school year, the first as a sanctioned sport by the Georgia High School Association. In a little over two months, from mid-October to the state championship games Dec. 28 in Atlanta, just under 100 teams competed across the state.

To those involved, flag football meant more than just another girls sport — wedged between fall season stalwarts cross country, softball and volleyball, and winter’s basketball and wrestling. This was an opportunity to include girls athletes in the shared experience that is “regular football” on Friday nights in the state. In fact, boys tackle football state championship games followed the two flag football finals that day in Atlanta.

Chad Griffin is the Calvary Day athletic director and coach of the girls and boys soccer teams.

“That was our goal: to make these girls feel just as important as these guys do on Friday nights,” Calvary Day athletic director and flag football coach Chad Griffin said. “If you ask any of the girls, or girls who played flag football from around the state, that’s all they ever wanted was to have these same feelings that the guys get to feel on Friday nights, and they got to do that.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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