The student news site of Rogers High School

The Commoner

The student news site of Rogers High School

The Commoner

The student news site of Rogers High School

The Commoner

Girls’ flag football hits the field

The girls flag football rallying together before a big match.
Photo by Seattle Seahawk photography
The girl’s flag football rallying together before a big match.

Today, football is the most popular sport in the United States. Since the 1800’s, fans have watched and gossiped about the adrenaline-fueled performances on those fields. The game is considered dangerous and more commonly played by males.  

But that’s changing. 

Starting in the early 1970’s, women were introduced to what was called powderpuff football. Pursuing this newness allowed women to showcase their fierce athletic ability, just without the harsh contact. And throughout the decades, men’s football has remained in the spotlight while females in the sport was less heard of.  

Except in Washington. 

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With the help of Seattle’s Seahawks in October 2023, their grant of $117,000 funded 30 schools to launch girls flag football. Rogers made the cut. 

Varsity coach Braylie Jeffers played powderpuff in high school when there were only a few practices before one big tournament. Her father coached football for almost 30 years. With such firsthand experience, she was more than qualified to lead. 

Junior varsity coach Michele Livernash also played powderpuff as a teen. She loved the field as a soccer player since females in football wasn’t taken seriously.  

Jeffers and Livernash express their excitement for being able to see the sport prosper. The thrill is seen “even on the sidelines, you see how hard the girls are working, bringing in a new intensity … you never know the outcome,” Jeffers said. Livernash gains joy from “seeing the girls have fun and establish a new tradition.” 

During tryouts, the coaches emphasized looking for attitude and effort because even without experience, the two characteristics go a long way. They admire the girls being coachable; able to take feedback and produce it on the field.  

With all the girls who took the chance and tried out, the very first Roger’s flag football team was created.  

Throughout an average practice, the players portrayed all the right positive traits of a team. Togetherness, encouragement, friendship, commitment, and discipline. The crew was outside 10 minutes before practice already tossing back and forth with a partner. Here and there, compliments like “that was a good throw!” could be heard. They did not continue running or warming up until everyone was caught up. Even when the sky started to pour, they kept on running.  

It was refreshing to see how smooth their drills ran. They were speedy and aware of their surroundings. Non-athletically related, the vibe was light and open. Both JV and varsity conversed and laughed with one another. 

Mackenzie Garcia, a junior on varsity, wasn’t planning on joining a sport at all this year. Luckily, she saw a new opportunity that looked like fun. Garcia is pleased to be a part of the experience.  

“The whole environment is loving and nice, I’ve never seen a better group of girls,” she replies.  

Garcia personally feels honored to be “making history … people can look back at us as the first group and see how far we’ve gone.” As a lady Ram, she’s partially responsible for raising the standard for girls in sports.  

Another player, varsity senior Jalayla Williams, finds excitement in this unfamiliar program. Williams feels welcome and belonged, as she “likes to run, try new things, and be aggressive.” She’s eager to “make a foundation and a positive impact” on her team and every team from now on.  

It’s safe to say their experiences are for the books. Not only have they bonded new relationships, but they’ve also sent out an unspoken empowering message to all females. And not just in sports! The beautiful uplift of abilities continue to prosper as these young females have taken yet another step towards branching out those gender norms.

Seattle Seahawk photography

Soon enough, we’ll see this sport expand to the Olympics. The Rogers Rams are setting the bar early. 

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