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The Groves Scriptor

Groves girls get a new chance for flag football

Stephanie Webster
The 2023 junior powderpuff team, formerly the only flag football opportunity for Groves girls, pose after their game.


The girls’ flag football team at Groves High School will be starting this March for a trial season. This will be the first flag football team available for high school girls in Oakland County and will be supported by the Detroit Lions. 


The NFL pilot teams host events for three games total for each team, with two of the game weekends being held at Ford Field, the Detroit Lions training facility, and the team’s headquarters in Allen Park. A pilot team will test the audience’s reaction to the new program before introducing it worldwide. This will also give the players the experience of playing in world-renowned fields and getting the full experience of playing a professional sport. 


This flag football team is being fitted by multiple sponsors. Nike will provide the uniforms for the teams and USA Football will provide the necessary equipment, including flag belts and footballs. This will lower the cost of fees, in hopes that more schools will participate in allowing girls to have a place to play flag football. Oftentimes there is a cut for women’s sports in public school districts, while simultaneously spiraling into millions of dollars of debt for the men’s teams. This will give girls an opportunity to play with quality jerseys and equipment that sadly isn’t always available in public schools.


 The two companies that are supporting the program have amplified the girl’s flag football in their markets. Each team will have their own designated colors and a team name corresponding to their city. Last year the Holly High School girls’ flag football team received a $5,000 check from the Detroit Lions to pay for the sports activities. Overall, the NFL program itself has donated $100,000 for flag football nationwide.


Although girls’ flag football is new to Groves, this will not be the first time the NFL has run this program. The first trial run was last year with participating schools such as Madison Heights High School, Holly High School, Lapeer High School, and Rochester Community School. At Groves High School, the staff started the program alone, but a student pushed for girls to have this sport available to public schools. Ella Kecskemeti, a sophomore at Groves High School, discovered the obvious solution for the lack of opportunity for girls interested in flag football at Groves. When she heard that the Lions were starting the pilot league, she thought it’d be a perfect opportunity for girls to become involved.  


Kecskemeti is not just any student at Groves—she has lots of experience with flag football. She has played since third grade outside of school. Keckskemeti is excited to see how many girls will be able to experience playing flag football. More than 60 Groves girls play Powder-Puff, a girl’s fundraising program where there is one flag football game each year, so there is a clear demand for this program. 


“There are a whole bunch of girls at Groves that want to play football, so it’s great we are finally making it happen,” flag football player Gabriella Frazier said. Students at Groves have been waiting for this moment for years because Groves has never seen anything similar to having a sport available for girls who want to play football. 

“Girls having a flag football team is exciting because girls can be as tough as guys. We can’t put the pads on and play football, but girls can still lift, run, and catch footballs,” senior Cameron Little said. Flag football will give girls a chance to have equal sports—and more importantly, to show that girls can do everything boys can do.  The hope for this sport is that girl’s flag football becomes a big part of the girl’s community similar to how football for boys is.  


“It’s great they are making opportunities for girls because football is not just for boys,” Frazier said.


“I think that it’s a great chance to show some women are in the athletic field and have roles in education or health care. Some women are in the athletic field and are strong women,” junior flag football and basketball player Aniyah Walker said.


The main goal of this program is to get girls into the game of football while also opening more experiences to explore the interest in flag football that is often ignored in most high schools worldwide. Tryouts are estimated to be held during late March, regardless of football experience for grades 9-12. There will only be cuts if more than 25 people show up. This year there was a competition to see if this sport would gather enough girls from the Groves alone. Seaholm declined the notion of a combined Powderpuff team because they needed more time in advance. 


Kecskemeti is confident that enough girls from Groves will be interested in playing. “I thought it would be better and give more students at the Groves school an opportunity so it will not be a combined team,” Kecskemeti said.  This will give girls a higher chance of making the team while also expanding the passion for girls in flag football. Mr. Wickersham, a Groves High School teacher, will be the coach for the team. He is also the Groves Women’s Empowerment Club organizer and is very passionate about the new program. He has experience with coaching the Groves Powderpuff team and is no stranger to coaching flag football. There will be two teams for the season: one for the regular season and one for the regionals. 


The team can take up to 25 people for the five-on-five flag tournaments for the regular season. There is a regional team that will be determined during the regular season consisting of 15 of the 25  best players. There will be a five-on-five flag for the regional team that will go to the final game. If that team wins and makes it all the way, then they will compete in the 2025 Pro Bowls in Orlando, Florida. According to the NFL, the goal is getting girl’s high school flag football to become a recognized interscholastic sport in Michigan. This is a great opportunity for women to show that they can do more than what other people think.  


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About the Contributor
Hannah Gray
Hannah Gray, Editor
Hannah is a junior at Groves High School. She has been in journalism for two years and she enjoys writing and taking pictures of her friends and cats. Hannah developed her interest for writing in seventh grade and has continued to write since. She is passionate for science and would like to go into Pre-Med to be a plastic surgeon when she graduates. Hannah participates in Women's Empowerment Club, Ski Club, Big Brother Big Sister and theater. She also enjoys Gilmore Girls and loves Taylor Swift.
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