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A New Nutley Experience: Girls' Flag Football

This coming spring, Nutley High School is doing something very different. There will be a girls' flag football team. The coaches are Mr. Porrino and Mr. Coppola, who both also coach for boys' football in the fall. This is a huge moment for Nutley because something like this has never happened before. Mr. Porrino is very excited to see “what kind of fan support we could have especially if we have Friday night games in the oval.” The flag football league was started by the New York Jets. They began this league last year, starting with only eight teams. Now this year they have another 34 teams, 4 conferences. The Jets are handling 95% of costs through an NFL grant.


Mr. Piro, Director of Athletics, was pleasantly surprised by the number of girls interested in playing. There were roughly 35 girls at the interest meeting. Piro was especially excited about this because it is all new athletes looking for something to do in the spring. He is excited to see the players showcase new talent. “There will be some challenges, it’s our first time doing this. It’s a whole new set of rules and techniques, but no struggles that will stop us from moving forward,” Piro shares. 


As stated earlier, Mr. Porrino is one of the coaches for the flag football team; along with Mr. Coppola. He says, “After talking with Mr. Piro, who is extremely excited about the program, he thought it would be great for us to coach, especially since we are both boys football coaches.” Porrino is most excited to see how the girl’s interest in football grows as the season goes on. 


All of the home games will be at the oval; there will even be some Friday night home games. Porrino has high hopes of having lots of fans at those games cheering them on. Practices should start at the beginning of March. Skills, techniques, and concepts will be introduced at that time; preparing for games starting in April. 


They will be a little behind compared to some of the other schools because some of the schools were involved in the league last year. The biggest challenge for the team will be going against those schools since they have more experience. 


Mackenzie Albert is planning on playing flag football. She attended the photoshoot hosted by the Jets, along with one player from all the other teams. She says, “The pictures were so much fun! It was out of my comfort zone but the other girls were very supportive.” When she first got there, the director of the flag football league explained everything about the program. He then brought them down to the locker room and surprised them with their uniforms. Albert’s plan is to try and be the quarterback and a running back. She is very excited to play because it’s a new experience. “Hopefully the sport is able to go to more high schools around the country,” She says. 


Junior at NHS, Morgan Llaneza, is also very excited about this new league. She doesn’t care what position she plays, she just “wants to get in the game.” Llaneza doesn’t have many nerves about playing. “This is just a new, fun experience I am happy to be involved in.” 


Gianna Pizzano, a sophomore at NHS, is stoked about a flag football league coming about. She also doesn’t have a set position she wants to play; as long as she is playing she will be happy. Pizzano says, “Since my dad works in football it has been a sport always a part of my life, I used to play a lot when I was younger.” So she is very excited about having an opportunity for herself to play now. Pizzano has spent a lot of her life watching her younger brother play flag football and now tackle, so she knows a lot about the game. 


“The first Friday night football game at the oval will be a flag football game-how could you ever forget that?” Piro says.