Wildcat flag football champs attend MetLife Stadium football media day


Wildcat flag football champs attend MetLife Stadium football media day

February 29, 2024

Warwick Valley’s Varsity Flag Football program was represented at the NY Jets Flag Football Media Day at MetLife Stadium on February 22. Brianna Brookins, Paige Manno, Alyssa Sarlo and Coach Rocco Manno attended. The day was a thrill from start to finish, from the moment Warwick players walked in to see their championship team picture on the jumbotron! 

More than 60 high schools and 100-plus players participated in this first-ever Flag Football Media Day, which is very similar to the media event the Jets organization hosts for its own players in mid-August. There are photo and video opportunities, and chances for players to speak with the media outlets in attendance.

“We had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A panel to discuss how the sport has opened up doors to women, and how the future of the sport is growing exponentially,” said Coach Manno. “I am really proud to be a part of this groundbreaking opportunity.”

The keynote speaker was Nausicaa Dell’Orto, captain of Italy’s national women’s flag football team. Ms. Dell’Orto set out to create women’s football in Italy in 2011. Today, football has established itself in the country’s sporting landscape. She spoke about her upbringing, and the challenges in forming a women’s football team in Italy. She encouraged attendees to play the game and follow their dreams.

Nearly 200 high schools throughout New York and New Jersey will participate in girls flag football leagues this year.

“The Jets are proud to continue supporting girls flag football, as the sport transitions from an independent league to a state-run sport in New York and New Jersey,” Jets President Hymie Elhai said in a statement.  “Our goal is to give women an equitable platform and opportunity to play what we consider to be the greatest sport in the world. We are excited to see the next generation of football players and look forward to the continued development of the sport.”

With the support of the NFL and Nike, flag football grew instantly and was immediately declared an “emerging” sport in 2021 in New York State because four sections had at least four programs. Within one year, there were six sections with at least four programs, which qualified the sport for championship play. Due to that growth, on Feb. 1, 2022, Flag Football was officially recognized by NYSPHSAA as a high school state championship sport starting in the 2024 spring sports season.

This spring, 185 programs within the NYSPHSAA membership are expected to participate in a full season and then be eligible for the inaugural flag football state championship on June 1 and 2.

Warwick Valley won the inaugural Section 9 Championship, beating Pine Bush. The Wildcats then played in the Regional Championship game against Plainview Old Bethpage at the New York Jets Florham Park facility. 

The New York Jets, Nike and Gatorade announced the expansion of their High School Girls Flag Football League in 2023. The league expanded to over 100 teams in the Hudson Valley — including Warwick Valley — Long Island and New Jersey, building upon the eight New Jersey schools that launched the league in 2021.

Some flag football facts:

  • A flag football field is 80 yards long x 40 yards wide
  • There are cones marking midfield, and each 30- and 10-yard line
  • Teams have four downs to reach each cone
  • The 10-yard line marks the start of the end zone
  • There are no kickoffs
  • Center toss (rather than snap) the ball to the quarterback
  • Teams can try for one, two or three extra points after a touchdown




If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.