Girls flag football kicks off first season


Shaler Area flag football team in action vs Ambridge on April 24

Ella Katona

This spring, Shaler Area High School introduced a new spring sport to its students: Girls Varsity Flag Football.

The program is done in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are hoping to encourage high schools to sanction girls flag football.

NFL teams around the country are attempting to introduce the flag football opportunity to girls in the high school. Seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York and Nevada) have officially sanctioned girls’ flag as a varsity sport.

There were eight girls that decided to participate in the Shaler Area Flag Football team this season.

The head coach, Rob Heinrich is extremely excited and ready to take on this first year, coaching the new sport.

“I did not have to think twice about accepting the coaching position,” Heinrich said. “Having the distinct opportunity to serve, coach, develop and mentor athletes every day is a gift. Also, promoting women’s sports and making history is an honor.”

The team will have a five-week season with one game per week and will compete against the schools North Allegheny, West Allegheny, Ellis, Moon, and Ambridge.

All teams meet at a local stadium and the football field is broken down into three sections, which allows all six teams compete at the same time.

“The final week of the season, all teams play down at Heinz Field in a tournament for a championship title,” Heinrich said. “How well we do during the first four weeks of the season determines our seed for the tournament. Giving the teams an opportunity to play on an NFL field is something the girls will remember for life and with that, I think it is a great way to end the season.”

The team has been picking up the game extremely well and has had great success during their first game on April 24 with a 22-0 win over Ambridge. They improved their record to 3-0 after defeating North Allegheny 8-6 and West Allegheny 28-0.

“So far, just being able to share a game I love has been great,” Heinrich said. “There has been a lot of learning as you go, and that comes with any sport. But, more importantly, we’re having fun and making memories. These girls are setting a foundation for what I feel will be a successful program at Shaler.”