The Jr. Bucs Middle School Flag Football Program, a part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation, visited St. Stephen Catholic School on January 15 to teach students flag football drills.

Former USF football star and former Buccaneer George Selvie participated in the event, engaging in drills with the middle school kids. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get flag football out there and promote it for girls and boys,” said Selvie. “It’s not just for boys anymore, we are moving towards getting the girls more involved in playing. I love that part.”

According to former Howard Football player and flag football instructor Matt Parker, flag football is becoming a popular and safer option to tackle football. “I think a lot of people are starting to notice how dangerous tackle football can be, so flag football is the next big thing,” said Parker. “It keeps kids active and teaches a lot of fundamentals. The kids love it, and I think we are making a big impact on the community.”

According to the Buccaneers website, the Jr. Bucs Middle School Flag Football Program enhances the flag football curriculum for nearly 70,000 middle school students by providing flag kits, equipment and instruction. Students in Hillsborough and Pinellas County school districts will participate in a three-week flag football unit during either the fall or spring semester. Additionally, this school year, all schools will receive a special visit and instruction from a Buccaneers legend and certified flag football instructors.

“The kids were very excited to come out and run through some drills and have someone teach them,” said PE coach and St. Stephen athletic director George Green. “The excitement has been off the charts.”

The middle schoolers participated in drills for about an hour of fun. “I think it’s a great experience,” said 7th grader and St. Stephen flag football player Olivia Mills. “We learned all these cool ways to prepare for a flag football game.”

“It’s cool that a team like the Bucs is coming out to small schools to support us and help us have fun,” said 7th grader Brayden Mcanally.

Parker says that the plan is to expand to Orlando next year as well. For more information, visit the website at www.buccaneers.com.