By Tamas Mondovics
To learn more about East Bay Girls Flag Football, please visit www.ebhsgirlsflagfootball.com. It is safe to say that East Bay High School athletes have had a fair share of success over the school’s long history, including its girls flag football program, once again led by head coach Michael Cooper.
Thanks to Cooper’s passion and love for the sport along with his desire to see his young players thrive, East Bay has enjoyed great success ever since it was first offered as a club sport during the 2005-2006 school year.
The inaugural season was led by Coach George Eddington, before he moved onto coach boys football at Lennard High School the following year.
East Bay begins this year with a record of reaching the district tourney annually along with claiming five district titles.
While the past couple of seasons have seen some disappointing losses, Cooper is confident of his current lineup of talented players whom he said are ready to take on their local rivals.
“This is the best team in five years,” Cooper said, adding that while the past couple of years had been tough, it is now time to zero in on utilizing the best of talents the tryouts offered.
“I had to cut and reshuffle some players this year so our varsity team can now boast of both quantity and quality.”
It is noteworthy that while the girls are not playing for scholarships, but for the love of the game, the team supported by local sponsors is raising funds to offer at least one scholarship this year.
Considering the current girls flag football climate, East Bay will need all the strength it can muster.
As it was the case last year, the Indians will face Bloomingdale, Durant, Riverview, Newsome, Plant City, Tampa Bay Tech and Strawberry Crest, all representing the FHSAA’s Class 2A District 6, division.
While Durant brings a strong team to the lineup, Bloomingdale is again favored to win as it has enjoyed leading the pack in recent times claiming two consecutive district titles.
It’s been more than a dozen years ago that flag football began making a foothold in Florida, allowing a growing number of local high school student-athletes to play the sport they love.
In 2016, 265 schools were on the state roster representing an increase of nearly threefold since the sport’s modest beginning.
Thanks to the increase, the FHSAA has implemented a second classification for the sport in 2016 with 119 schools in Class 2A and 109 schools in Class 1A.
East Bay will officially begin its regular season with a home conference game against Tampa Bay Tech on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The Indians will also take on Bloomingdale on Tuesday April 11.
For a complete schedule, please visit www.floridahsfootball.com.
To learn more about East Bay Girls Flag Football, please visit www.ebhsgirlsflagfootball.com.