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Girls Flag Football Makes a Historic Start

@Shenendehowa_Flag_Football on Instagram

History is in the making with the new addition of the first girls flag football team coming to Shenendehowa in the Spring of 2024. This new varsity sport has gathered girls from all grades in high school, opening up new friendships and skill levels.

Photo Credit @Stop_motionpics on Instagram.

Girls flag football has made its way to not only Shen, but to Section II. Many Section II teams have created flag football teams and are playing games against each other.

Shen’s team was helped by the New York Giants, who provided them with a grant, which funded their start up and uniforms. 

Matt Buckheit, Shen girls flag football coach, said how the girls had to learn and adjust to the new sport and team.

“There is definitely a learning curve. Some girls have more knowledge of football in general,” said Buckheit. 

Gabby Stuart, Shen senior and one of the captains on the team, said, “We all have skills that can be applied to the sport, not everything is new for us.” 

Stuart played basketball for Shen in the winter season, and has taken some skills from the sport and applied it in this new season. 

Serena Suchdeve, Shen senior on the flag football team, said, “I think everyone is adjusting to it because it’s new for the whole section. The refs and coaches are all still getting used to the rules.”

The game is played differently than regular football. There are markers instead of chains on the sidelines, and every twenty yards is a new first down. 

“Each girl came in with a different set of background knowledge, but the girls have been working hard at practice,” said Buckheit. 

The team practices six days a week and has film sessions. 

“The girls are really putting the time and dedication into studying the playbooks and all the resources I have posted for them,” said Buckheit. 

Troy High School was the only school in Section II to have a team last year. They have proven to be Shen’s toughest competitor so far since they have had an extra year of experience. 

Shen’s team beat Troy in overtime after a competitive game. 

Starting up a whole new sport with a new team has its challenges, but the girls have adjusted well. 

Just like any other team, the girls have bonded like they’ve been a team for years. Suchdeve says, “It’s like any other team. If you all play the same sport and get to know each other, you bond together.” All the girls are in the same boat of trying a new sport, while making history at the same time.

“It feels really good to be making history like this, our names are gonna be remembered when they go back and look at this team,” said Stuart. 

“It’s historic. That’s what our coach keeps reminding us,” said Suchdeve. 

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