Butte High will field a girls’ flag football program this fall.
The addition of the sport was approved by the school board last month, but it is not yet a sport sanctioned by the Montana High School Association.
The Bulldog program has some funding, thanks to the Atlanta Falcons, and it has a head coach in Eric Zahler. Now, Butte High needs some players to field possibly two teams — varsity and junior varsity.
“It should be a blast,” Zahler said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Zahler said has had more than 15 girls express interest in joining the team, and some players have been participating in open gyms. He said open gyms will continue next week, running after morning weights on Mondays and Thursday.
Games will feature seven-on-seven play, and every player is an eligible receiver.
The team will head to a camp, which will be put on by the Falcons, Aug. 20 at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula. Practice will begin on Aug. 20, and Butte High’s first game will be at home Sept. 3.
All games will be on Saturdays, and Zahler said the team will practice probably three times a week. Zahler will keep his position as an assistant on the Butte High football team.
“We’ll go after football practice,” Zahler said. “If we have to go a little bit later, we’ll flip on the lights and have a blast.”
Zahler said the team will be set up so girls don’t have to give up on other fall sports. He said he hopes cross country runners, golfers, volleyball players and soccer players will decide to go out for the flag football team, too.
“We’re just trying to give the girls something else to do,” he said. “We’re trying to let kids know if they want to play (two sports), they can totally do that. We’re going to be totally lenient on it.”
Butte High is one of just four schools that are ready to play flag football this year. Joining the Bulldogs are Kalispell Flathead, Kalispell Glacier and Frenchtown.
Zahler said the plan is for more schools to join the sport down the road.
“If we can get some more school involved, maybe it will take off into a sanctioned sport,” Zahler said.
Players interested in going out for the team are encouraged to go to open gym after weights Mondays and Thursdays.
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