Women’s flag football introduced for 2023-24 year, sparks questions about gameplay


Pending district approval, women’s flag football will be introduced as a fall sport next year following its approval by the California Interscholastic Federation. Although many students expressed excitement over the addition, others said they worry about the changes it would cause to powder puff and other aspects of school culture. Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash.com

Following campaigns from both parents and students, women’s flag football will be coming to the school next year pending district approval. Yet although many have expressed excitement for the addition of a new fall sport for women, other students said they were concerned about changes to school culture, including the potential elimination of powder puff.

“It sucks that powder puff is going away because I wanted to do it next year and they’ve had it for so long,” Claire Saeyang said.

To relieve some worry from the students, Mrs. Penny Shelton said maybe there won’t be a removal of powder puff.

“We talked about still having powder puff during Homecoming week, and that we could still have the boys who want to come and support the girls doing cheer and bringing the spirit two nights in a row,” Shelton said. 

The California Interscholastic Federation passed the idea for women’s flag football a few months ago in order to increase opportunity for girls to participate in athletic fitness. They said the NFL was a large factor in this, as they sponsored 16 women’s teams and promoted flag football. After the approval, The Sierra Foothill League, which the school competes in, agreed to implement the team by fall of 2023. The district still needs to approve statements and salary for a head coach and an assistant coach and start-up funds to buy the flags and uniforms before the season can begin. Along with that, there won’t be a JV or frosh team. 

“It’s the pilot year, so we are only going to start with one level of team. It will be a varsity team that includes freshman through seniors until we can grow into a JV and frosh team,” Shelton said. 

With the approval of the sport also comes new changes, as the rules for flag football differ from regular football. 

“The lines would be different – they would be drawn so they’re not as long and the field would be shorter, and also they would have seven players on each team instead of 11 like regular football,” Mr. Nick French said. 

Another question about the team is who would be playing, and French said he thinks the track athletes, soccer players and any athletes playing during the winter or the spring would be interested in playing. French also said how since the team is in the early stages of being built, word has not really gotten around campus that it is even happening. Shelton said that excitement is starting to grow about the team and that some girls and parents are anxiously awaiting its arrival. Some parents even asked for the team to be created and already suspected their daughters would want to be a part of it. 

Alex Maday said, “I played flag football growing up and I always thought football would be fun in high school but I didn’t want to join the guys team, so I think having a girl’s flag football team would be so awesome and I would totally join it.”