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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

BOHS Adds Girls’ Flag Football as Varsity Sport for ’24-’25

Issabella Garcia
BOHS’s newest varsity sport is girls’ flag football, which begins workouts in March in preparation for its debut season in the fall.

This fall, a new BOHS sports team will play under the lights of Wildcat Stadium: girls’ flag football.

In August, flag football will debut with junior varsity and varsity teams led, currently, by Morgan Paul, varsity softball coach. 

BOHS will join other north Orange County high schools — like El Dorado, Canyon, Yorba Linda, Villa Park, El Modena, Foothill, and Esperanza — that launched their programs in the fall of 2023. 

“We have so many talented athletes here at [BOHS] who are going to help bring the flag football program up to speed with everyone else,” Paul said. 

Last year, about 21,000 girls participated in high school flag football, an 86% increase from the previous four years, making it one of the fastest growing youth sports in the U.S.

Due to the rapid growth of the sport (fueled, in part, by viral videos of the sport on social media), the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) officially added flag football as a varsity sport in February 2023. 

“Because of the sudden interest in the sport, we decided to include flag football to our sports program,” Mike Knaus, boys’ athletic director, said. 

“I think BOHS made a good decision of adding flag football because it’s only fair to have for the girls what we have for the boys,” Lulu Schultz, freshman, said. Schultz plans on joining the team when off-season workouts begin in March.

We have the chance to break the stereotype of only boys playing football, and that’s really special.

— Lulu Schultz, freshman

Also contributing to the growth of flag football in U.S. high schools is the National Football League (NFL) and Nike’s support for the sport. To date, the businesses have donated $5 million to scholastic flag football programs across the country.

Locally, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers played a key role in the rapid growth of the sport in California. The Chargers, for example, provided BOHS with equipment, “including cones, stopwatches, training hurdles, pylons, footballs, practice flags, practice pennies, whistles, and play wristbands,” according to Paul. 

“The Rams and Chargers made having flag football at BOHS possible. Without their support, we might not have had the funds to create a team,” Knaus said.

Not included in the Chargers’ donation, however, are jerseys. “We are currently in the process of securing donations from the community,” Paul said. “Our community is remarkable, and I’m hopeful that they will be interested in investing in our program, especially since we don’t have a booster club or any established funding mechanism yet.”

Flag football and tackle football have key differences. Flag football is a non-contact sport where the defense pulls a flag off the opponent’s waist instead of tackling. The game is seven versus seven, instead of the 11 versus 11 of tackle. And flag football fields are only 70 yards long, whereas tackle football fields are 100 yards long.

“I know a lot of the girls are going to be learning the game together because it’s different from regular football rules,” Brielle Denbo, junior, said. Denbo will join the inaugural varsity squad in March.

Flag football, which shares a season with tennis, volleyball, and cross country, will begin practice on Mondays and Tuesdays in March. The official season begins fall 2024. To avoid conflicts with the Friday night boys’ varsity games, flag football will compete under the lights in Wildcat Stadium on Thursdays, after boys’ JV games. 

Knaus and Paul led an informational meeting in room 102 on Dec. 12, 2023, to inform prospective flag football athletes about the addition of the sport. 

“I was really surprised at the number of girls with a fall sport who showed up [to the meeting]. Flag football is a fun new opportunity that many girls are eager to try,” Denbo said.

In previous years, girls have participated on the Wildcat football teams. Cadence Rutledge (‘22) was a kicker for a Wildcats team that won a league title and made CIF playoffs in 2022. Now, girls football players have a sport of their own.

“We have the chance to break the stereotype of only boys playing football, and that’s really special,” Schultz said.

Corrections: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a junior varsity coach had already been hired. In fact, Morgan Paul is currently the only coach in the program. It was also incorrectly noted that the Chargers donated jerseys to the program. We regret the errors.

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About the Contributors
Siena Codekas
Siena Codekas, Sports Editor
Audrey Im
Audrey Im, Staff Writer
Audrey Im, freshman, is a member of Dance Production, the social media manager for the club Dream Catchers, and a staff writer for the Wildcat. In her free time, Audrey loves to shop, hang out with friends, and catch up on the newest episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty. She aspires to be a neurologist.
Issabella Garcia
Issabella Garcia, Photographer
Issabella Garcia, freshman, is involved in softball and cross country. Her goal this year is to get straight A’s and to be involved in school clubs and sports. She wants to major in journalism and go to Stanford University to major in journalism and digital media. During her free time she likes to listen to music, run, and play with her dog, Skye.
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  • Anthony De LeonFeb 8, 2024 at 3:58 pm

    Well written article! Good stuff!

  • Michele GodfreyFeb 2, 2024 at 7:45 am

    Well written article, so glad the are adding Flag Football for the Female Athletes! Good job Siena

  • Michelle KeslerFeb 1, 2024 at 7:05 pm

    Congratulations ladies. I’m certain you all will represent the school honorably. Good luck.

  • Marilyn HollandFeb 1, 2024 at 1:25 pm

    It is great that girls will be able to have their own sport! BOHS is definitely keeping up with the needs of student sports. This article was so informative and interesting.

  • CindeeJan 31, 2024 at 8:54 pm

    I think it is a wonderful opportunity for the girls at BOHS. I appreciate the details Siena relayed to the readers. We can really understand how and why this is going to be a great program.

  • Tyler ParkJan 31, 2024 at 8:34 pm

    Wow! This blew my mind when I saw and read this. This was such an interesting article and it’s cool they’re adding a football option for girls, kind of like how there’s baseball for boys and softball for girls, two similar sports, but different in their own way, just like tackle and flag football. Nice job Siena!!

  • Brooke BrighamJan 31, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    This makes me want to do flag football!!

  • BrittanyJan 31, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    It is great that BOHS is evolving with what the current students want. It is inspiring to read how the team formed and that the students want to be a part of a new and exciting sport. Having an additional opportunity for students to be a part of, whether participating or watching as fan, is a healthy and positive experience. Reading quotes from the students adds a fun addition to the facts that were shared. Thank you for this articulately written and interesting article.

  • Steve SpeakmanJan 31, 2024 at 12:21 pm

    I loved this article with all the details including stats, donation amounts, and key details differentiating between flag football and tackle. I learned things from this article.

  • JerryJan 31, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    Well written. Clear and consise.

  • Mallory SpeakmanJan 31, 2024 at 3:44 am

    This article did an amazing job captivating interest in a new and emerging sport for the females of BOHS. It made me both excited, yet yearning for the opportunity I didn’t have in HS. Love the use of person quotes from students recognizing they have the opportunity to break stereotypes. Extremely informative and well written! Can’t wait to see how BOHS evolves this newly added sport to their program!

  • KylieJan 30, 2024 at 9:45 pm

    Such a well written article. Perfect balance of information and student voices

  • AllieJan 30, 2024 at 9:18 pm

    This is a very informative article. It gave amazing facts on a new sport. This was a very fun article to read.

  • LeslieJan 30, 2024 at 9:05 pm

    Very informative article. From the facts in the article you can tell that the writer has a vast knowledge of football. Great news for girls flag football!

  • NicholasJan 30, 2024 at 8:55 pm

    Loved the article! Finally flag football is upon us.. Hooray!

  • SofiaJan 30, 2024 at 8:49 pm

    Can’t wait to see the team!!

  • SieraJan 30, 2024 at 8:46 pm

    Wow!!! This was great!
    Thanks for this, wish I could’ve played next year, but I’m graduating 🙁

  • Lulu SchultzJan 30, 2024 at 8:40 pm

    Omg this is such a good article so amazing and well thought out!

  • Grace SongJan 30, 2024 at 8:36 pm

    Good job Siena! I definitely agree with Lulu about breaking the stereotypes!

  • JoeJan 30, 2024 at 8:10 pm

    Superb article! Flag football is a GREAT sport, and these high school girls are going to love it. Well done, Siena!!!✅

  • ToriJan 30, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    I was captivated while reading the entire article. It’s exciting progress and the writing conveyed that while being informative and sharing the perspective of the players themselves. Thoroughly enjoyed!

  • Karen CodekasJan 30, 2024 at 5:39 pm

    Another excellent and well thought out article. It not only gives the reader insight into a new sport but provides interesting information about how it came about.