McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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IHSA announces girls flag football for next school year

The IHSA hopes to increase opportunities for students to compete against other teams from different school districts across Illinois
Junior and senior football players try to take each other’s flags during Homecoming’s Powder Puff football game on Sept. 27, 2023 at McCracken Field. Powder Puff is the closest that MCHS has ever gotten to a full flag football team.

The IHSA announced on February 5 that starting next school year, they are officially adding girls flag football as a new sport. The sport will include a state series and MCHS is trying to form a team starting next season.

The season is planned to take place during the fall, in line with the soccer and football seasons with games being held at McCracken Field. Interest has recently grown in the sport at MCHS due to the annual Homecoming powder puff game, which juniors and seniors enjoyed this year.

Athletic Director at MCHS Chris Madson is excited about the opportunity of Flag Football becoming a sport at MCHS, and provided some of the details he knows so far.

“[Flag Football] got cleared for the fall season, and they (IHSA) are debating about the amount of games that will be played,” Madson said. “Some schools last year played anywhere from 18 to 25, because it’s not the physical part of football it falls under a lacrosse type schedule.”

Madson feels like the sport has the opportunity to take off at MCHS, and that the more interest the sport receives the better it will be perceived by other students.

“We initially had 70 plus girls complete the survey that was sent out,” said Madson. “So then from there, we’re gonna have an informal in-person meeting in about two weeks, and that’s when we’ll say this is a serious sport… It’s gonna be a regimented full season, a legit type thing and we’ll see where the commitment level goes from there.”

Madson is not the only director at MCHS that feels like the new sport is a good opportunity for our school. Activities Director Mitchell Stengel realizes the overall impact that activities at MCHS hosts has had on interests in sports, particularly powder puff.

“Activities potentially have a huge impact on our school in the fact that we have a number of athletes that have experience in flag football because of our powder puff game at homecoming,” said Stengel. “We’ve all seen it, we have some incredible athletes at our school and I think this bubble has been close to bursting for a long time; this allows for an awesome opportunity in the fall for students to participate in a high-energy sport that many girls have already had experience in.”

Overall, the interest in flag football itself has been growing across Illinois and specifically in and around Chicago school districts. The IHSA noticed this and felt it would be a good opportunity to get more students involved with their schools by participating in the sport.

“The addition of girls flag football furthers the IHSA mission of creating participation opportunities for high school students in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The sport has experienced significant growth in a short amount of time, and our member schools are excited to see it become an IHSA sport.”

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