Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos Courtesy of Montgomery Catholic Athletics
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – Montgomery Catholic is a force to contend with on the gridiron no matter who suits up. For several seasons the Knights football team has run roughshod through opponents … but now it’s the ladies’ turn. Led by softball coach Whitney Toole, the Flag Football Knights are 2-0 and extending the #builtbycatholic brand to another arena.
“I remember us being shocked and excited,” said Junior Ann Cobb, talking about the announcement of the new sport. “All the girls were so hyped to be all to play football.”
According to Toole, the Knights took the field and began learning the motions and movements very quickly.
Toole: “We played a scrimmage before the season started and I think that really helped us learn what to expect. We learned very quickly in the scrimmage how fast the game moves, and that we’re going to have to step up our ‘toughness’ level. I think we took a lot away from that scrimmage and the girls went to work at practices over the next two weeks.”
Despite the work – the positivity flowed.
“We were so ready to get started and see what it would be like and were all ready for such a new experience,” said Senior Kayleigh Everage. “We were all a little unsure at the beginning but it was so fun to figure it out with each other throughout the summer and create a new team for the school.”
In the two games following that scrimmage, the Knights looked like their full-contact contemporaries defeating Dothan’s Northside Methodist 30-0 and Dothan 25-6.
Toole: “The girls really played tough and I couldn’t be prouder of them. It’s hard playing a new sport, but they were able to see their hard work pay off. We play some good teams moving forward, so I’m excited to see how the girls progress.”
Leona Sanford, Everage and Ann Cobb have a combined five touchdowns through the first two games. Aiken and Jehle Dickson are splitting time at the signal-caller slot. Aiken has also posted a pair of touchdowns. Toole added that due to the size of Montgomery Catholic’s student body, their depth chart is filled out with middle schoolers as they play a schedule with mostly 6As and 7As.
The youth movement isn’t necessarily a negative, Aiken views the whole experience as a positive.
Aiken: “A sport like this creates a great bonding experience with people who might be too come out and play. Since it’s a new sport, people are more comfortable because it’s new to all of us.”
Keep in mind this – Flag football in Alabama High School – has only been a thing for one season. The 2021 season – the inaugural competition – concluded with Hewitt-Trussville stunning Smiths Station in double overtime to claim the history-making crown.
“A new sport, such as flag football, gives new students encouragement to try something different, and to develop a strong bond between teammates,” said First-year Freshman Kate Robertson. “It helps new students get out of their comfort zone and join in on school activities because they are aware that everyone is new to the sport – not just them.”
In year two, according to the AHSAA list of declared flag football teams, there are 57 teams (from Class 1A-7A) up 13 from year one.
Sanford: “Flag football has given us a great opportunity to create friendships with girls from a variety of grades as well as new students to the school. We get to enjoy the games and the practices while also having fun with new people we have become close with.”
Montgomery Catholic is now 2-0 (2-0 in Area 1) and will be back in action on September 27 inside the friendly confines against Northside Methodist at 5 p.m.
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