Flag football: a Westfield tradition

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Photo by Morgan Boll

WHS flag football jerseys

Morgan Boll and Tate Fallon

In Westfield, flag football isn’t only an enriching activity, but a culture. Kids start playing in elementary and middle school through the Westfield PAL Football program. As a way to keep the fun and competitive tradition alive, WHS students created a flag football program several years ago.

The program supports the Special Olympics. Derek Kingsley, commissioner of the WHS flag football league and WHS senior said, “We have been able to donate $15,000 in total to the foundation over the years, with $4,000 in the last year alone.”

This year there are six teams: black, blue, pink, red, white and green. There are no tryouts, but there is a draft. Kingsley selects five WHS football players and himself to be coaches and then they begin to draft: “Before the season we get all the forms and all the sign ups and then make a spreadsheet. Then, all the coaches get together and just draft. We have a quarterback column on the form and they check off if they are a quarterback or not. There are eight rounds and it’s random for who gets first pick,” Kingsley explained.

Senior Coach for the green team Jonny Audino said, “Coaching is fun. I get to teach the kids who don’t know how to play football how to play. It’s good to have fun and see a smile on their faces. I just like the vibes.”

As an enjoyable weekend activity that many WHS athletes play, the most important rule of the league is safety, which is enforced by student referees. Kingsley said, “We do not want anybody to get injured.”

This is sophomore Evan Hammer’s second year playing and he loves the loud energy on and off the field. Hammer said, “I just like how it’s not insanely competitive, but it’s also not too relaxed. People are just having fun and playing.”

Games take place on Sunday mornings behind EIS from 9-11 a.m. There are no practices; players and coaches simply show up and play. The games consist of two 20-minute halves with no stoppage.

Last year was the first year with a spring season in addition to the fall season. Kingsley added another season due to popular demand. During the fall season, WHS football players are only allowed to coach; however, in the spring they are allowed to play.

If you are interested in playing flag football, Kingsley advertises information on his personal social media accounts and on morning announcements. Similarly, if you would like to make a donation to the Special Olympics, you can email Kingsley at [email protected]