LOCUST GROVE — The flag football season is underway in Henry County with all public schools picking up the sport.
With Warren Holder Park in Locust Grove setting the stage for a promising opportunity in women’s sports, there was a lot of excitement around the facility when all 10 teams took to the field for the first time.
When it comes down to how this sport came into Henry County, it all started with a meeting between county athletic director Dr. Curt Miller and the Atlanta Falcons.
“They contacted us, and several other metro districts and they wanted us to get involved and after speaking with our superintendent and chief officers, we decided this was something we wanted to do in Henry County,” Miller said. “I had my April meeting at Mercedes-Benz and let all the ADs hear from the Falcons. At that point, we decided as a group that we wanted to go do it.”
The Falcons were happy to continue their efforts this fall within Henry County.
“The Atlanta Falcons are thrilled to continue our efforts with girls high school flag football in Henry County this fall,” said Amanda Dinkel, Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Manager. “Last year we started with one county (Gwinnett) and this year are excited that five more counties, including Henry County, have jumped on the opportunity to provide this for girls in their district. We are proud to partner with them to give girls the chance to play football at the high school level.”
Henry County didn’t even have to pay for the equipment that went into making the first game possible. The county applied for a grant through the Arthur M. Blank foundation that was able to fund all 10 schools.
The grant is handling transportation, jerseys, balls, flags, referees and trainers.
“With this grant, they’re already going to have for next year so they’re not going to have to fundraise for jerseys or anything like that,” Miller said. “We’re really excited about the opportunity.”
The sport itself is a great opportunity for athletes as well. Many girls don’t play softball or volleyball while others don’t run in cross country. This fall sport is designed to give more athletes a chance to play.
“I think it’s a phenomenal situation for our girls,” Miller said. “The GHSA is going to have this as a sport soon and our girls are going to have a leg up on the other counties who are not playing.”
Archie’s Sporting Goods helped with the jerseys that came in, and Locust Grove High’s Clint Satterfield assumed the role of girls flag football coordinator.
“He’s organized the referees for us,” Miller said of Satterfield. “I’ll be honest, it was his idea for this jamboree, and he’s put this thing together and worked on our schedule.”
Every team will have two games under their respective belts this week before the regular season kicks off next Monday.
“I think this is great for the young ladies in the county,” Satterfield said. “We’re using this jamboree for all the county teams to get together at a central location and learn the game.”
When asked if flag football could surpass traditional football, Satterfield said that he won’t say never.
“We just hope these girls have a lot of fun and schools and community gets behind them as they’re out here being athletes and competing,” Satterfield said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”