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Flag football league to debut this spring

By CHRIS SIERS - sports@t-g.com
Posted 1/14/23

Baseball may be America's pastime, but there may be an even bigger following for football. 

One of the biggest concerns with football in this day and age is the possible ramifications of …

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Flag football league to debut this spring


Baseball may be America's pastime, but there may be an even bigger following for football. 

One of the biggest concerns with football in this day and age is the possible ramifications of playing a contact sport for years. 

One way fans of the sport can play on the gridiron without the continual contact of traditional tackle football is flag football. 

In past years, there's not been any flag football leagues set up to allow school-age athletes to participate in a flag football league. 

That's about to change with the efforts of Tre Stewart and the governing body of America's Flag Football Association. 

Spanning from states throughout the southeast, America's Flag Football Association affords scholastic athletes the ability to play flag football, within a league and governing body. 

"There are 380,000 kids playing in different cities across the board. I told him we would love to do something like that here because we have a huge population of youth, but not everybody wants to play tackle football. It's co-ed. It develops a base of athleticism across the board. It's flag football and it starts from kindergarten through 12th grade," Stewart said.  

Stewart is organizing the efforts at a local level to bring flag football to Bedford County in a league that will be open to athletes K-12th grade.  

The structure is designed to span from 5-on-5 in the younger age groups, to a more traditional 7-on-7 for high school athletes.  

"This is school age kids. For the little kids, they play 5-on-5 and play on a 25-50-yard field and then it goes up to 6-on-6 and 7-on-7 for middle school and high school. It opens up the door for a lot of athletes," Stewart said. 

The league will be played on Saturday afternoons this spring, at both Shelbyville Central and Cascade High Schools. 

"We would love to have eight to 10 teams per age division. We also get to recruit local coaches, from parents, to coaches, players and college players. That's where you get the older tie ins to come back into the program," he said. 

"We know baseball is big and a lot of people play travel ball. We're going to be playing on Saturday afternoons. We'll start kind of where baseball cuts off. The younger kids will start around 3 p.m. and we'll run it through the afternoon. We'll have music playing, concessions and things of that nature. It's light-hearted, but we do have TSSAA refs that will be out there. There will be structure and very organized." 

The cost is $135 per athlete, but that cost includes everything from admission to the games throughout the entirety of the season, to flags and jerseys as well. 

There's also a non-profit charity the association uses to help athletes who may be otherwise unable to afford the cost. 

"We have a non-profit charity where they can go in and sign up for that, and if they qualify, they cover the kids' cost for them. If they need assistance, they have assistance, and it doesn't cost them anything. We're going to be hosting a lot of them at Central and a few at Cascade as well. Coach Jake (Tyre) and Coach (Jud) Dryden have agreed to let us use their facilities. I'm grateful for that portion," Stewart said.  

With the league set to begin in a few months, registration is currently open through the association's website.  

"The biggest thing was making sure we had all the ducks in a row with the fields and things of that nature. I've been working on this for a couple of months. It's a huge league with America's Flag Football Association. We're bringing in a huge brand that's been running for almost 10 years and that spans multiple states. That also brings in a great structure," Stewart said.  

The league is currently being played in states like Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.  

"It begins in March. We're about to open the registration and it runs through May. I'm planning a couple different ones in different areas: one in Winchester, one in Tullahoma and close to Cleveland. After we get everything done, we run a tournament bracket. We run our local tournament, and then we'll start traveling and playing other teams," Stewart said.  

For more information, visit americasflagfootball.com for registration and charity information.