Oregon girls face off in flag football tournament at Sherwood High

The inaugural Oregon high school girls flag football tournament was Saturday on the new turf of Sherwood High.
Published: May. 13, 2023 at 10:36 PM PDT
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SHERWOOD, Ore. (KPTV) - The inaugural Oregon high school girls flag football tournament was Saturday on the new turf of Sherwood High.

Rebecca Brisson from the Portland Football Officials Association and president of the Portland Fighting Shockwave, the women’s full-tackle team of 22 years, assisted in putting on this trophy event along with forming a youth league and getting geared up with their friends from Nike.

“The Moms are saying, ‘I wish we would have done this when I was playing. The girls are having a blast,’” Brisson says. “We just kept putting momentum behind it and now here we are, eight schools year one, we’ve already heard from a handful of other schools that are ready for it next year so it’s growing quick.”

Eight schools competed in season one: Scappoose, Astoria, Riverdale, Seaside, Tillamook, South and West Salem and the first-year champs from Banks.

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Hailey Evans, a Banks High School senior, says she’s watched her brothers play the game.

“So it’s been pretty cool to come out and experience this myself,” Evans says.

Astoria junior Paula Hernandez says, “I think it’s really important that it starts, and it continues of course.”

Lily Zurasky, Riverdale freshman says, “There is no football for girls and we have it now, I guess. It’s awesome!”

Also Riverdale freshman Ailey Johnson says, “I think it’s a really good opportunity for girls to get out there and show that we are not ‘weak’, we can play football!”

Sean McNabb has been varsity head coach of the Scappoose boys for 32 years and the leader of the tribe can see the future is happening now.

“I would have never thought that was going to happen,” McNabb said. “I thought, maybe in my P.E. class, right? Play some flag football but to have it competitive like this, it’s just, we’re evolving. We’re doing some great things and I think this is awesome for these girls to be able to do this.”

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Brisson says the tournament is a change to play a fantastic sport that they all have watched.

“It’s a team sport, right? But bringing it to a different level of flag,” Brisson says. “Not a lot of equipment is needed. You need some pylons, which they already have. Cones, which the schools already have, so really, it comes down to some flag belts and those aren’t even that expensive.”

There is always room to grow but it takes roots which are now planted in Oregon and nearly a dozen states across the country offer high school girls flag football as an officially sanctioned sport.

Lulu Olson, South Salem freshman, says it’s one of the greatest opportunities that she’s ever had.

“This is the most important thing I have ever done personally,” Olson says. “It is the most fun I have ever had.”

The next step is having flag football become an officially sanctioned OSAA sport.