The Dunkirk school district might start a girls varsity flag football program.
District Athletic Director Al Gens offered a presentation about it at this week’s Board of Education workshop. He noted that a recent flag football game between Dunkirk High School juniors and seniors drew about 30 participants.
Teams play 7-on-7 games on a regulation-size field, according to Gens’ presentation. The spring 2022 season in Western New York’s Section 6 had 13 teams in Erie and Niagara counties. Each team played between six and eight games.
If Dunkirk’s Board of Education approves a team, it would start play in spring 2023.
Gens stated that the Cassadaga Valley, Forestville, Fredonia, Silver Creek and Southwestern school districts in Chautauqua County are also considering flag football programs. He was unsure about Cattaraugus County schools’ interest.
Silver Creek Superintendent Todd Crandall recently told his Board of Education their district is evaluating whether to combine with other schools for a girls flag football program. “It’s really a huge thing that is growing,” he said. “We’re exploring would we want something like that ourselves, or would we want to join Forestville, or, in theory, Fredonia or Lake Shore.”
Gens said Dunkirk’s team would need to hire a coach and assistant coach, get transportation, acquire uniforms and chip in on officiating expenses. He added there is funding for girls’ flag football programs available from the Buffalo Bills but was unsure of an exact figure.
Concerns were expressed that flag football could take athletes away from Dunkirk’s softball and track programs, which also compete in the spring. Gens said some of the girls who have an interest in flag football will also want to do either softball or track. Multi-sport athletes must pick a primary sport, and their coaches must negotiate on practice time, he added.