The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Flag football kicks off first season

Cal goes 9-1 so far in their first season for new girls’ sport
Sophomore+Olivia+Horton%2C+far+right%2C+pulls+a+Dublin+player+by+her+jersey+as+teammate+senior+Lauren+Grgurina%2C+left%2C+tries+to+pull+the+flag+during+the+Grizzlies+24-0+victory+on+Sept.+12.+Cal+is+9-1+overall+and+7-0+in+EBAL+play+so+far+this+season.
Bekah Gracer
Sophomore Olivia Horton, far right, pulls a Dublin player by her jersey as teammate senior Lauren Grgurina, left, tries to pull the flag during the Grizzlies 24-0 victory on Sept. 12. Cal is 9-1 overall and 7-0 in EBAL play so far this season.

Flag football was sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation earlier this year, bringing the newest girls’ sport to Cal High this season.
And the Grizzlies appear to be adapting very well after racing to a 9-1 overall record, 7-0 in EBAL play, halfway through the season.
“The NFL has been talking about [professional women’s flag football] for a while and [high school athletic federations] do it in other states, but they now expanded to EBAL,” sports med teacher and assistant coach Brad Bretzing said. “It’s been a pretty fast transition.”
Head coach Frank Grgurina said every school in the EBAL except for Dougherty Valley and Carondolet are fielding teams this season. Eight of the league’s ten schools put together new programs in less than six months after the CIF authorized flag football to be part of the fall season in March.
The girls play a 10-week season with games every Tuesday. What’s unique about this sport is that schools play multiple games on the same day when scheduled against league opponents.
So at the Grizzlies home opener on Sept. 12, Cal beat San Ramon Valley 7-0, had a 90-minute break while the Wolves played Dublin, and then hit the gridiron again to whoop the Gaels 24-0.
“We are really glad we have 28 capable players so that we can work them in,” Grgurina said.
After their first game, players cooled down and made sure to refuel for their next game. They were careful in making sure that they were still going to be warmed up and ready by their next game as well.
Despite being a new sport there was a solid turnout for the first home game with about 70 percent of the home stands filled with cheering fans. The school even had the varsity cheer squad out there throughout both games that day.
While a noticeable portion of the crowd was parents, there were also quite a lot of students there to support the Grizzlies. The varsity boys football team also stayed out after their practice to cheer on the girls.
The sport itself is very similar to seven on seven football, which is a sanctioned as a high school sport in other states.
Each team has seven players on the field at a time. On offense there are five designated receivers, the quarterback and the center. Once the center snaps the ball, they all become eligible to catch a pass.
There is no blocking on offense, which means once the ball is put in play players have to be very agile to avoid getting their flags pulled.
One important rule is that when a team is within five yards of the next down marker or a touchdown, they can’t run the ball. These spaces are called no run zones.
“In close contact like that where girls are running super fast you are gonna create a collision,” Grgurina said.
On defense, all seven players are meant to defend the receivers and attempt to intercept the ball when possible. Once the ball is caught, defenders then have to pull the players flag to end the play.
The defense can also rush the quarterback and pull her flag as long as she has the ball.
The field is also only 80 yards long, 20-yards smaller than a regular football field, and slightly narrower.
After scoring a touchdown, which is still worth six points, the scoring team will attempt an extra point. But instead of kicking the ball, the team has to choose whether they want to go for one point or two points.
If they decide on just one point then they must make a passing play five yards from the end zone.
For two points, the offense start from the 10 yard line and can either pass or run.
“[Flag football] is new to a lot of them,” Bretzing said of his team. “We have cross sport athletes, we have basketball players, we have soccer players, we have lacrosse players out here.”
Bretzing said skills from these other sports have translated very well to field awareness among other skills.
“It’s a lot of footwork and anticipating passes and being a team player and everything it all comes into flag football,” freshman Mikayla Nielsen said.
Despite being a new sport, flag football spread quickly.
Tryouts were during the first week of school with around 45 girls showing up and 28 making the final team.
A lot of players became interested after participating in open field practices during late summer, which led to them joining the team.
“I went to the open fields and I liked it a lot, so then I thought I might as well go to the tryouts,” freshman Ashley Reynolds said.
Reynolds said she is sure to continue playing in the coming years and is very excited to see how the team will do in the future.
This season, the EBAL will crown a champion but there won’t be NCS playoffs. Grgurina said this is because not enough school have instituted a flag football team yet.
He hopes that by next season there will a NCS championship.
Despite being a new team many of the players see this as a great opportunity to advance girls sports.
“You see the boys football team and when you, as a girl, can actually play it,” junior Mary Dilling said. “I think it is a fun experience.”
Senior Mia Larson said the new flag football program gives girls an opportunity to learn more about hardships and tough sports.

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About the Contributors
Vishwas Balla, Senior Sports Editor

Senior Vishwas Balla is returning for his third year as a member of the Californian paper. This year he will be the senior Sports Editor for the paper. His interest in sports as well as in writing are among his reasons for continuing in the paper. He hopes to bring more spotlight to student athletes at Cal. Outside of school he enjoys running and going out with friends.

Jani Rodrigo, Staff Writer
Senior Jani Rodrigo is a first time reporter for The Californian team at Cal High and is looking forward to reporting and developing stories. In his free time he likes to play water polo, hang out with friends, and go to the gym. As a newcomer he is excited to report on Cal High athletics and events around the campus.
Bekah Gracer, Photographer
 Bekah Gracer is a senior and a first year photographer for The Californian. She has been in the Photo Advanced class for 2 years and loves photography. She is excited to learn how to use digital cameras and do sports photography. 

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