Flag Kennedy girls as city’s football champs
(Page 2 of 3)
By Raphael Sugarman
Vallejo credited coach Andy Lancberg, who is currently rebuilding the boys’ football team at Kennedy, and his assistant coach Augustine Tieri, for helping out with the girls’ program.
Were it not for the two, thin flags dangling from a belt on each player’s waist, it would be easy to mistake a flag football match for a pickup game in the park.
The playing field for flag football is 40 yards long, plus a 10-yard end zone on each end.
Physical contact is prohibited, so there are no offensive or defensive lines. There is also no punting or kicking.
Each team fields seven players. The attacking team begins with the ball at its 5-yard-line and has four plays to make it to the 20, including only one running play. The quarterback is allotted a maximum of five seconds to either throw the ball, run or hand it off (the referee counts the seconds out loud).
If the attacking team is successful in getting to the 20, they get a fresh set of four downs to try to score. After a touchdown, a team can try for a 1-point conversion from the 5-yard-line or a 2-pointer from the 10.
“We’re not just running around out there,” said Leslye Olivo. “We have set routes to run on offense and on defense, we always have to be aware of who is around us.”
Something to tackle
Though they hoisted the same championship trophy, individual members of the team had vastly different degrees of experience with football before the season.
Phinazee recalled being introduced to football at a young age, through casual games with family or friends.
“I played in games with boys, but they couldn’t say anything, because I could always catch the ball,” said Kennedy’s leading receiver.
Acklin guessed that she was as young as 7 or 8 when she first played touch football with members of her family.
“I’m in my senior year so it’s nice to win a championship,” she said. “It’s a good feeling to throw a football in the air and see someone run under it.”
Other players had little or no football experience until they signed up to play for Kennedy.