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Urbana team leading movement for high school girls flag football league - FlagSpin

Urbana team leading movement for high school girls flag football league

Jun. 16—Within five years, Ryan Hines can envision a scenario where girls flag football is an official varsity sport, with games played on a weekly basis, not just in Frederick County, but in high schools across Maryland.

“We just need to show them what it looks like,” the athletic director at Urbana High School said.

Hines is among those working to build on the momentum of a grassroots movement that produced what is believed to be Maryland’s first organized all-girls youth flag football league in the spring for Frederick County Parks and Recreation.

The next goal is to establish a high school league in Frederick County for girls flag football, with seven-on-seven games beginning this fall and a pair of tournaments featuring teams from across the state to be played at Urbana High School in October.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it’s going to take off,” said Nick Damoulakis, who inspired the idea for girls flag football in the county and coached the first all-girls team in the fall of 2020 against teams of boys in the age 11-12 division of Frederick County Parks and Rec. “We want to continue the momentum.”

The idea is that there would be five teams, comprised of 15 to 20 girls each, competing in this new high school league. Urbana, home of the original Lady Ravens team, and Frederick High have already committed teams to the league.

Organizers are not opposed to players from multiple high schools joining together to form a team.

“If girls from Oakdale and Linganore want to form their own team, then by all means,” said Jeff Pontius, who helps Damoulakis coach and is one of the organizers of the new league.

While flag football for Frederick County Parks and Rec is a five-on-five game, the new high school league will transition to seven-on-seven.

“We want there to be more people on the field, and have it look more like regular football,” Pontius said.

Flag football fields are typically 70 yards long and 30 yards wide with a pair of 10-yard end zones, about 75 percent of a regular football field, Pontius said.

Teams have four downs to advance the ball to midfield from their own 5-yard-line and another four downs to score. They can elect to punt if either objective is not met, which means the opposing team will take over on its own 5-yard line.

Interested players are encouraged to sign up on the league’s website, The league is also seeking coaches and sponsors to help lift it off the ground, according to Pontius.

If the league is successful, organizers hope it will prompt other counties across Maryland to start girls flag football leagues of their own, thereby attracting the attention of the state’s governing body for high school athletics, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.

In five years, they hope that girls flag football is a varsity high school sport in Maryland, joining Alaska, Alabama, California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Washington D.C., where the sport has already achieved that status.

Hines cited the growing popularity of high school girls wrestling in Maryland as a model he hopes flag football can follow.

“In five years, it exploded from a single tournament to a recognized state-championship event on the varsity level,” he said. “That’s our goal.”

Pontius is hopeful they can adopt an even more aggressive time frame.

“We always say five, but we are hoping to do it in two to three years,” he said.

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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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