SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County’s first flag football season is over but its enthusiasm for the sport advanced into overtime.
The Lady Rebels ended their season Dec. 2 with a heartbreaking 18-12 loss to Dodge County. They gave up a touchdown in the closing seconds, leaving them winless.
“We played our best against Dodge County,” Effingham County head coach Elodie Lockhart said. “We tried new plays and the girls were up to the challenge. It was a fun game even though it did not go our way.”
Pass completions were rare for the Lady Rebels early in the season. The number of connections, however, progressed throughout the campaign that started Nov. 5 with a 26-6 loss at Richmond Hill. Abby McDonald hauled in two long scoring receptions in the finale.
“As the season ends, we have learned and grown a lot,” Lockhart said. “I am very proud of my team and I looking forward to next year.”
Effingham County athletic director Matt Howell was pleased with the Lady Rebels’ inaugural flag football season, too.
“It was a good experience for our kids,” he said. “It a big learning curve. A lot of them had never played football before or sports in general.”
Flag football resembles regular football but features a number of unique rules. The field is broken into four zones, with each one being 20 yards long. Teams get four downs to advance from one zone to another.
Touchdowns are worth six points but teams can elect to go for a one-point extra point from the 3-yard line, a two-point try from the 10-yard line, or a three-point try from the 20-yard line.
There are also no fumbles in flag football. If the ball hits the ground it is down at that spot. Kicking is limited to punting only. The ball is live and can be caught in the air, or off the ground.
The Lady Rebels showed they are starting to master the sport in the final game.
“Dodge County is good,” Huntley said. “They beat Richmond Hill and I think it is the top team in the area. The girls have come a long way and we are excited to see the growth that will come in future years.”
Huntley said Effingham County accomplished its mission by fielding a flag football team. It was paid for in part by a $6,000 grant from the Atlanta Falcons.
“It was a good opportunity for kids who weren’t involved with other teams to be involved with something here at the school,” he said. “It gave them a chance to be a part of something.”