by Kate Berube & Jennifer Young
The future of Flag Football is off and running! Coach Seth Needelman led two Phantom co-ed 10u teams, with 20 fierce BBP 5th and 6th grade players split between them. They competed in Sachem Sports Club Flag Football league for a total of seven games at the PAL complex, after which the players finished their season with a fun-filled scrimmage on their home turf at Bayport-Blue Point High School on a sun-drenched Sunday. With laughter ringing through the air, the atmosphere was a throwback to a more carefree time, when sports were a vehicle for play and not just competition.
“We do this to foster a love of football,” said Alex Wellems while watching the game. “The smiles on all the players' faces say everything.”
Flag football has been gaining in popularity around the country, offering an alternative to tackle football programs and opening the door for girls to participate in America’s favorite pastime.
“In our last playoff game of the year, we won against the number one seeded team,” said Julie Wellems, age 11 of Blue Point. “Almost everyone got to score a touchdown, it was so exciting.”
This past year NYSPHSAA, the body governing New York’s public school athletics, introduced girls flag football as a spring season sport at the high school level, setting the stage for the youth league to have the opportunity to continue as these athletes age.
“My favorite part of football,” 5th grader Avery Needelman confided to the Gazette “is when we beat the boys.”
The 2022 Phantoms 10u Flag Football Team with Coach Seth Needelman
Photos by Kate Berube/Bayport-Blue Point Gazette
...and Coach Needelman goes DOWN. 'Till next year!