The first season of flag football for both The Weber School and Atlanta Jewish Academy has come to a close, with Weber ultimately winning the four-team league championship.
The idea of flag football was born at Weber out of a dearth of options for male athletes during the fall season, according to Weber athletic director Scott Seagraves.
“We’ve always been short for the boys,” he said. “Girls have volleyball and cheerleading, but the only sport we did offer for the boys was cross-country. … We started kicking around the idea of flag football, since we’re not a big enough school for a full 11-on-11 team.”
In place of that standard roster, teams played seven-on-seven and Weber’s was made up of 23 students, all in their first year playing flag football.
“I wasn’t sure if it would be accepted, but we had a lot of interest,” Seagraves said of the unconventional sport choice. “It actually ended up probably the most well attended athletic event both by parents and students.”
Seagraves reached out to other athletic directors in the region (Georgia High School Association Region 5-A) and received positive responses from several, which led to the creation of the four-team league, made up of Weber, AJA, Atlanta Classical Academy and Fulton Leadership Academy.
AJA athletic Director Rodney Zimmerman explained that he had a feeling flag football would be a hit.
“The kids over here have always loved football,” he said. “I see both middle schoolers and high schoolers playing it during lunch and so when Coach Seagraves and I started discussing putting together a team, that was what really grabbed my attention.”
Johnathan Hall, an assistant athletic director who previously coached football at Brookstone School and Columbus State University, served as the head coach and defensive coordinator for the team, while Seagraves managed the offense.
“It was difficult at the beginning,” Seagraves said. “We had great plays already for 11-on-11, so we had to adjust the playbooks, and of course consider the talent that we had to try to make it work. Of course, they’re very talented athletes, but they didn’t have practice with the small things like footwork.”
At AJA, leading the team was Brett Rogers, an Oglethorpe University student who also works in personal fitness and stress training.
“Our high schoolers really impressed us in terms of their play in their first year,” Zimmerman said.
Weber and AJA met in the finals, after a regular season in which each team played its opponents twice.
With the inaugural season now a wrap, Seagraves added that he has also received interest from a handful of schools outside of the region, something Zimmerman was also hopeful would happen.
“I know all the schools want to grow the program in terms of adding more teams, maybe even doubling it for next year,” he said. “We’re also looking to host some of the games [at AJA] in the near future. It really was a great season for the first year.”