Jennifer Shank – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Flag football is one of the fastest growing sports in America.
This will be the seventh season a girls flag football team will play at LRHS.
Throughout the past six seasons, the team has brought in 37 – 31 including a district championship in 2018 and a three-way district tie in 2019.
LRHS flag football coach Elijah Weaver said, “Every year there are approximately 35-40 girls that try out for the team. Anything I touch, I give it 100%. I believe students will put in the same amount of effort and passion as the person who leads the program.”
The sport spiked in popularity in 2021.
According to the Nike article Just Women’s Sports, “The National Football League (NFL) and Nike had committed $5 million in product to grow girls flag football in high school athletics.
“This grant demonstrates Nike’s continued commitment to inspire girls to continue to keep playing,” Nike continued.
NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent told the NFL, “The expansion of girl’s flag football is essential to the growth of the game and preservation of the values it has contributed to society for decades.”
Currently, 15 colleges and universities offer scholarships for flag football.
Only six states across the country sponsor the sport, Florida being one of them.
Six Mustangs have signed scholarships to continue playing at the college level. Five girls have also been named to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) All-State Team.
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“The way you train, bond with teammates, and practice instills life lessons that you will carry with you for the rest of your life,” Weaver continued.
Senior flag football player Katie Hardesty said, “On and off the field, I get to spend time with my teammates who share the same love for flag football as I do.”