Saturday afternoon Butte High, Kalispell Flathead, and Kalispell Glacier girls held the first ever Montana High School Flag Football Jamboree.
Senior Madison Scaholm grabs a flag.
The day was all about learning. Athletes, coaches and officials had their first opportunity to experience the new sport. Naranche Stadium was cut into two 40 yard x 40 yard fields. This gave varsity and junior varsity players a chance to get as much experience possible in the single day event. The official field is 40 yards x 80 yards. It probably won’t be used until later in the program’s development to allow more athletes extra playing time.
Butte High coach Eric Zahler was excited about what he saw on the field; “I saw so many smiles on all the girls’ faces as they enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to be a part of history.” He added, “The day was not about competition, but focused on learning the game and figuring out how everything is going to work.”
Girls’ Flag Football is not a sanctioned High School sport in Montana yet. The teams are currently using rules from Georgia, where the sport is sanctioned. Zahler explained, “This season is about developing the sport in Montana, with a strong foundation and not focusing on wins and losses. As the season progresses, we will start keeping score, but for now it’s all about learning the game and enjoying the experience.”
The three teams will play a six-week round robin schedule. It will conclude with a championship game on October 1st at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Even the structure of the Championship Game is still being formed, according to coach Zahler. It may include some sort of Round Robin tournament.
Next Saturday the three schools will meet again in Kalispell for another Jamboree event. Once again, no stats will be kept and no scores will be listed. The real winners will be future generations of Montana girls who will benefit from the strong foundation developed by Butte High, Kalispell Glacier, and Kalispell Flathead.
Team rosters may change as many of the girls are competing in other fall sports and may not be available from week to week due to schedule conflicts.
One thing is for sure, Coach Zahler is excited for the future of Girls’ Flag football in Montana. ” I am stoked for the opportunity these young ladies have to play football. We don’t care who wins or loses, just that the opportunity is now available to them.”
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