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High school girls play flag football. Why not tackle?

One of the most exciting high school football games I’ve been to since I’ve been the sports writer at the Observer wasn’t in the fall. It wasn’t the crosstown showdown of Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas. It wasn’t a high-profile postseason matchup.

It was a girls flag football game.

Seabreeze and Mainland have two of the best girls flag football teams in the area, and a little over two weeks ago, the two teams met for the first time in the 2018 season. I was there to cover it. The Sandcrabs held on in a 7-6 nail-biter to top the Buccaneers, who were ranked 15th in all of Class 1A ball.

The outcome wasn’t necessarily the most exciting part for me, however. It was the physicality with which the girls played that was most exhilarating. For example: Late in the fourth quarter, clinging to a one-point lead, the Sandcrabs’ star quarterback, Bailey McQuarrie, took off down the sideline on a run. After going 20 yards untouched, a defender stood in her way, ready to pull her flag. McQuarrie didn’t attempt to dodge, though. She ran the defender over.

You could hear the two players grunt as they made contact. You could hear body smack against the dirt.

To me, it was the best play of the game — even though that kind of bang-bang play is a penalty in high school flag football — and it was just one example of a day filled with great play.

But it also got me thinking: In no way do these girls lack the physicality or the mentality to play a “rougher” game. So why not allow those who want to, to play tackle football, instead?

Girls around the country, including Spruce Creek’s own Mia Van Winter, have suited up for boys teams.

If you have the gear and, most importantly, the roster numbers, what’s the excuse to not have girls tackle football?

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