Fannin County High School Fielding Area’s First Girl’s Flag Football Team This Fall

Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports

Blue Ridge, GA- The fastest-growing sport in the state of Georgia is coming to Fannin County High School this Fall. The Rebels will be the first high school in the North Georgia area to offer Girl’s Flag Football as a Varsity level sport thanks to Athletic Director Shannon York and a grant from the Atlanta Falcons.

Back in 2016, the Atlanta Falcons set out on a journey to bring girl’s flag football to high schools across the state of Georgia because, at that time, no schools offered the sport. After a few years of figuring out the logistics, the pilot season kicked off with 19 schools in Gwinnett County in 2019. That 2019 season ended with the girl’s flag football state championships being held in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and due to the season’s success, 5 other counties agreed to offer the sport. In 2020, Georgia became one of the first four states to offer flag football as an officially sanctioned high school sport. In the 2022 season, nearly 250 schools participated, allowing nearly 5,000 girls the opportunity to play.

This season, Fannin County will be the first North Georgia school to offer flag football to their female athletes.

Fannin’s inaugural team will be led by Head Coach Noah O’Neal, Miranda Roof, and Alan Collis.

TeamFYNSports had the opportunity to talk with Head Coach Noah O’Neal, and he gave us some insight into what the first year of flag football will look like at Fannin County:

“This week is our spring practice, so we are just getting out and getting the feel of things as a team. The GHSA allows us 5 consecutive days of spring practice and then a Jamboree, so we are getting geared up for that. We’ll go to Woodstock Saturday (for the Jamboree) and play Sequoyah and River Ridge. Our official practice starts late September and then we will start actually playing in mid-October through November. The first week of December is the latest we would play, so the GHSA has done a good job of sandwiching this season in between softball, volleyball, and basketball.

This is really neat and it’s really fun to be a part of. We’re really excited to be the first mountain school to have a program. They started our Rec program about 2 years ago, and the interest in it was through the roof. As those Rec kids have come up, our admin has been keeping an eye on it to kind of figure out when the best time to start a program would be. Right now, we’ve got about 20 girls coming out. I think when the season rolls around we will be at about 30, which is a good number to have in year 1. Our admin have been great, they’ve been super supportive. Our athletic director, Shannon York, helped us get the Atlanta Falcons grant which helped pay for some of our jerseys and things like that. The girls are super, super excited. They’ve been wanting to play and they’re finally getting the opportunity.”

While being the first school in the area with a girl’s flag program is groundbreaking, it also presents a challenge in terms of your competition during the regular season. Fannin County will be in Division 3 Area 5, playing against the likes of Cherokee, Blessed Trinity, Creekview, Etowah, Roswell, Woodstock, and others. Because of the proximity to the other schools, Fannin County who is normally 2A will be playing in a 7A division for flag football.

As far as the rules are concerned, they’ll differ a bit from what you’re used to seeing on Friday night. Only 7 players will be on the field at a time instead of the usual 11, and the girls will play with the football that is normally used at the middle school level. The field will be modified to be 80 yards long instead of 100, and there will be 20 yard line and 40 yard line markers that will indicate the line-to-gain for a first down. Gametime will be 40 minutes, divided into two halves with a five minute halftime. There will be no kickoffs, instead the teams will start on the 14 yard line. If you’re interested in the full breakdown of the rules, follow this link: HERE.

TeamFYNSports is looking forward to keeping up with the new sport of flag football in 2023, and we will keep you updated as the schedule is released and more details become available about the 2023 season.

Here’s to seeing more schools adopt Girl’s Flag Football in 2024!



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