Youth flag football lands in Saranac Lake

Ava Garwood, center, runs through a gauntlet during a youth girls’ flag football practice on Sunday in Saranac Lake at the Wilson Raymond Field. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

SARANAC LAKE — After the creation of the varsity girls’ flag football team this past spring, the North Country USA Football Club has started a youth girls’ flag football team for athletes in third grade to sixth grade.

Justin Garwood, who coaches the youth girls’ flag football team, said the program is run through USA Football, which sponsors a lot of the tackle football teams in the area. The organization is run by Eric Bennett and John Muldowney.

Garwood said he helped create the program, which will run until Oct. 22, for young girls who want to try out Saranac Lake’s newest varsity sport.

“(Johnny) Muldowney and I decided to put it together and it’s been great,” Garwood said. “We’ve got 18 girls, grades three to six, and they come out here every Sunday from 9 to 11 (a.m.). They seem to love it and they’ve been working hard.”

So far, the girls flag football team has held two practices at the Wilson Raymond Field in Saranac Lake. While the team isn’t expected to play games this year, Garwood hopes to teach the young athletes some of the fundamentals of flag football.

Alice Longo, right, looks to grab Maya Farrell’s flag during a practice on Sunday.(Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

“Learning football is a very different game than anything else,” he said. “They’re all responding well to it. It’s only the second week, but they’re showing up. Parents are appreciative. It’s been a great success so far, so I think it will just grow.”

While this program is in the fall season, Garwood hopes the program will turn into a feeder system for the school’s team, which plays in the spring sports season. The varsity team is for girls in eighth to 12th grade, the team is coached by Sean Ryan.

“For fall sports, you can play soccer — it’s one of the main (fall sports) options for girls — but some girls may not like soccer and prefer something a little different, like this. A lot of the girls have an older brother or parent who played (football) and so they get a chance to come out here and play football and they love it.”

Kathryn Raymond throws the football during a youth girls’ flag football practice on Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)


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