SMITHS STATION — Amid all the celebration, the Panthers held up four fingers Monday night after their win. Smiths Station is one of four teams left vying for the first-ever AHSAA girls flag football state championship. Smiths Station defeated Wenonah 14-6 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, using two first-half touchdowns and a shutout second-half defense. “I cannot say enough about my fans and our support system we have had,” Smiths Station head coach Meg Larsen said. “Parents, faculty, staff, students, our student section ‘The Jungle’ showed up to every single game. “They don’t even understand how much it means to me, but also how much it means to the girls. They feel like they have the full support of the school around them and that’s just like having an extra man out on the field.” The team celebrated with those fans after the win. After shaking hands with Wenonah, the Panthers ran over waving to their supporters, then met with Larsen for her postgame speech. That’s when the team took photos holding up four fingers — on the way to the semifinals. Smiths Station will meet the winner of Tuesday’s game between Auburn High and John Carroll. The home crowd’s energy was needed in the second half as the Panthers were forced to come up with stop after stop on defense. But with their season on the line, the Panthers’ defense had their claws out and delivered. Wenonah was at midfield facing a fourth-and-short and hoping to extend the drive and its season. With the Smiths Station crowd on its feet and cheering, the ensuing Wenonah pass attempt fell incomplete. The Panthers and their fans both roared as the defense ran off the field. The fourth down attempt with 10:10 to go in the game was the last time that the Dragons crossed midfield as Smiths Station held on for a 14-6 win. “They were a great offense. I mean, they were fast,” said Smiths Station’s Sabrina Fox. “I know my defense, I know we’re pretty good and I know we have it on lockdown. I have all my trust in them.” While the defense kept the Dragons under lock and key in the second half, Smiths Station’s offense roared in the first half behind quarterback Brynn Repicky. Repicky kept the offense rolling along as the Panthers scored on their first two drives to open the game. On the opening drive, Repicky kept the chains moving and brought Smiths Station all the way down to the 1-yard line before running it in for the first touchdown of the game. The ensuing one-point conversion was successful, and the Panthers were up 7-0. Wenonah responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Samarian Franklin. The conversion attempt was bottled up by the defense and the Dragons were kept out of the end zone for the remainder of the game. Repicky led the offense back out and the Panthers continued to quickly march down the field. Repicky showed off her cannon for the Panthers’ second touchdown. Fox leaped over a defender and snatched the pass for six, and the conversion was successful. “I owe it all to my offense,” Repicky said. “I couldn’t do it without the blocking, and I definitely couldn’t do it without my receivers taking these corners all the way back. So, I owe all to my O. On the other side of the bracket, the other semifinal matchup is between Hewitt-Trussville and Oxford. Smiths Station awaits Tuesday’s result between Auburn High and John Carroll. “We’re ready for whoever it is,” Fox said. “Of course, we’d love for it to be here at Smiths Station in our own atmosphere, but I feel like anywhere we go, we’ll step up. We always step up.”
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.