Flag football gears up for 2019 season
With a new season on the horizon, the Robinson flag football team gets ready to chase success
March 1, 2019
The Robinson flag football program is preparing for another season, with a slew of familiar faces along with the biggest class of freshmen yet. The team has a legacy of success to uphold, as the varsity team has won four state titles in the past five years under Head Coach Joshua Saunders. Meanwhile, the Junior Varsity team has not lost a game since 2011.
This season brings fresh faces and energy to the team, as 16 out of the 41 players in the program are freshmen.
“It’s the deepest freshman class we’ve ever had,” Saunders said. “It’s going to be our job to make them into the typical Robinson flag player.”
As for what the team considers a “typical” Robinson flag player, there is a certain expectation that a player has to live up to.
“It is a commitment both on and off the field to be the best at everything you do.” Captain Emily Kemp (’20) said.
Despite the volume of first-year players, the varsity team is returning 10 out of 14 starters from last year.
“It’s extremely beneficial that many of our starters are returning because they already have that varsity experience,” Emily Kemp (’20) said. “They understand a lot more about the intensity of the game.”
Among those returning players are the four captains: Sophie Bailey (’19), Alexis Smith (’19), Macy McClintock (’19) and Emily Kemp (’20), with Bailey and Kemp being returning captains.
“I definitely feel like I know a little bit more about being a captain,” Emily Kemp (’20) said. “I feel a little bit more prepared to lead the team with my other captains.”
The captains are asked to be the leaders of the team, overseeing day-to-day operations of the team and aiding in the development in of their peers.
“I am inspired by my captains,” receiver Rachel Clark (’20) said. “They are very passionate about the sport and work hard everyday to be the best on the field.
It is up to the four first-year players to transition from junior varsity to varsity and fill in for the few missing pieces from last season’s team.
“I’m a little nervous about the intensity of varsity,” Clark said. “but I trust in the process and in my teammates.
The off-season did not mean that the team stopped practicing and honing their craft. They participated in AAU tournaments around the state and held two practices a week towards the end of the school year, which is increased to three practices as the season draws closer. During the final two weeks of the off-season, the team brings in guest conditioners to aid in getting the team in shape.
The Knights’ schedule will not be a walk in the park, as they purposely have high-caliber opponents lined up throughout the season. They will play school rival Plant, as well as last year’s state champions Alonso.
“We intentionally scheduled challenging teams,” Saunders said. “We try to load it up as much as possible so that when the playoffs come, we’re ready for it.”
Despite the difficult road ahead, the coach has faith that the team will see success.
“They have a chance to be the best team we ever had,” Saunders said.
At the end of the day, they have their sights set for the highest achievement they can reach.
“Our expectation is always the same,” Saunders said. “We’re going to win the state championship.”
Jack Kirk is a senior at Robinson and the Sports Editor for the Knight Writers and RHSToday. He is a sports junkie, music lover and chicken tender expert....