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The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


The student news site of Downers Grove South High School


Girls flag football introduced as an IHSA sport

Sebastian Blanco
Girls flag football is officially an IHSA sport, and would be played on the football field if introduced at DGS.

Girls flag football will be introduced as an official IHSA sport for the 2024-25 school year.

Flag football has been used in a more recreational sense in the past years, specifically in Powderpuff football. The powderpuff game is usually held around homecoming at DGS, but with the introduction of it at the IHSA level, girls will have an option to be more competitive.

Dan Tully, President of the IHSA board of directors, was involved in the decision to make this sport official.

“It is important for the IHSA to continue to adapt to the interests of our students and schools. Girls flag football is somewhat unprecedented in terms of its growth and timeline for achieving an IHSA State Series. We are enthusiastic about how much has been accomplished in such a short amount of time and expect that participation will continue to increase in the years ahead,” Tully said.

Interest in this sport has been on the rise, but many don’t even know of its existence. Girls flag football consists of five to eight players that aim to get the ball to the goal line. Unlike actual football, players wear belts with flags on them that the other team has to try to rip off during the game.

The flags can only be pulled when a player has the ball. Players can kick, throw or carry the ball down the field to score, with the highest score being a touchdown worth six points.

Seeing as girls flag football is fairly new to the IHSA, many logistical areas are still being figured out. IHSA Assistant Executive Director and Girls Flag Football Administrator,Tracie Henry recognizes there is much to do in preparation for the first season.

“There is a lot of work to be done before we crown the first IHSA Girls Flag Football State Champion. We have a group of people who are dedicated to seeing the sport flourish and putting on a first-class state tournament. One area where we know we will need help is with officiating; we hope we can recruit some new officials to the sport, while also having current IHSA officials in other sports, including 11-player and eight-player football, add licenses to referee girls flag football as well,” Henry said.

As of right now there are not many plans for girls flag football to be introduced at DGS, mainly due to the lack of knowledge and interest. Associate Principal for Athletics Brandon Murphy hopes that more people will become interested in the growing sport.

“I’m completely for it; I think it’s a great idea. It will be student driven, just like all other programs we have here, they all pretty much start with student interest and it grows from there,” Murphy said.

As Murphy said, the introduction of this new sport is completely student interest. IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson wants this new sport to include new people.

“The addition of girls flag football furthers the IHSA mission of creating participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois. The sport has experienced significant growth in a short amount of time, and our member schools are excited to see it become an IHSA sport. The Chicago Public Schools Athletic Administration and the Chicago Bears both deserve significant praise for their grassroots efforts in shepherding and supporting the growth of girls flag football in Illinois,” Anderson said.

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