The emergence of the girls flag football team in their inaugural season

Coach Caines giving a post-game talk to players in huddle, after win against cross town rival San Marcos.
Coach Caines giving a post-game talk to players in huddle, after win against cross town rival San Marcos.
Violet Vance

In their very first year, the Dos Pueblos Girls Flag Football Team finished their season with a record of 14-3.  They won all but one of their league games and they are currently ranked in the top 75 for the nation. On average, they scored 24 points per game and only allowed an average of 7.4. Not only that, but they also had an average win margin of 16.6 points per game.

 

On Apr. 14, DP would name Doug Caines as their first Girls Flag Football coach. It had been two full seasons since Coach Caines had done any coaching. He had previously been coaching for the Dos Pueblos tackle football team for seven years. For three of those years he was the head coach, and led the team to the playoffs twice in that time. Before coaching at DP, he coached varsity football at Santa Barbara High School. DP then hired two more coaches to the staff of the team, Ryan Joy and George Hedricks.

Katie Peterson #15, Esme Mazurkiewicz #12, Ruby Streatfeild #3, and Maddy Jones #2, celebrating after a big play (Reagan Arnold , players celebrating)

 

The girls started practicing in late June, and began to build their community and skills. 

 

Their first official game of the season was in August against Bishop Diego High School, which they won 26-0. The team continued to dominate team after team.

 

After their great start, they went on to beat the Buena Bulldogs, the Lompoc Braves, the Ventura Cougars, the Bishop Diego Cardinals again, the Pacifica Tritons, the Hueneme Vikings, Channel Island Raiders, and the Oxnard Yellow Jackets. This left them at a 9-0 record t0 start their season. 

 

Following the game against Oxnard, the team participated in the Coastal Clash Flag Football Tournament, where they faced their first loss of the season against Oak Park, with a score of 20-12. However they won both of their other games against Oxnard and Camarillo, with scores of 26-6 and 18-6. 

 

After the midseason tournament, the flag football team went right back to Channel League play, where they took on San Marcos, Santa Barbara and Rio Mesa. They won 6-0 against San Marcos, but lost against Santa Barbara 14-12. They would end the season with a record of 33-14 against Rio Mesa. 

 

After the regular season came to an end, they were invited to the Los Angeles Chargers Championship Invitational, which was a limited tournament for the best Flag Football teams in the Southern Section. In their first game of the Invitational tournament, they took on Los Alamitos and won 14-12. In their next game they took on Mater Dei, but lost 22-18. This served as a replacement to their playoffs, since Girls Flag Football is a new CIF sport and they do not have any CIF Playoffs as of now. However in 2024, there will be CIF playoffs for Girls Flag Football.

 

Maddy Jones #2 and Gianna Nichols #24, side arm hugging #11, Samantha Salcido, overlooking the game. (Reagan Arnold)

Going into the season, expectations were low. There was uncertainty as to how the new team would play, but after their start, many wondered what made them so successful.

 

“[A] big part [of our team’s success] is because of our team dynamic, we hold ourselves to high standards and make sure we are respectful to ourselves as well as our opponents,” Samantha Salcido (12) said.  “We do this thing where we ‘flush’ bad plays and it’s able to clear our heads.” 

 

Salcido expanded on her experience playing with her teammates for the Girls Flag football team.

 

“[Sophie Choi (12) and I have] never been able to play a sport together and like let’s do it, We honestly went out on a limb and we don’t have any experience” Salcido (12) said “might as well have the best experience for our senior year” 

 

For a good team to succeed, it’s not just the coaches, but it’s the leaders on the team as well.

 

 “Before every game our captains would give us pep talks and we’d all say things that we know.” Pixley (11) said.

 

When the season had come to an end, players got a chance to reflect on it, and think back to their favorite moments. For Pixley,  she thought about the final game of the season.

 

“Definitely beating Rio Mesa at our last league game and just all the excitement that we all had [because of] the very last play”

 

Gianna Nichols #24, celebrating a touchdown with Sterling Streatfeild #22, Ruby Streatfeild #3, along with other Girls Players (Reagan Arnold)

The last play of the Rio Mesa game was full of excitement and relief for the DP Girls Flag Football team. 

 

 “Samantha Salcido got an interception and there was like barely any time left on the clock and we knew we had won the whole Chanel league it was such a good feeling.”

Even though the season is over, the team is ready for the next season.

 

“I haven’t heard of anyone that wasn’t interested [in coming back] and I’ve also heard a lot of people who were wanting to try out.” Pixley said.  “I think it’s a really really fun sport and that anyone can pick it up … I think that anyone who’s interested should try it out.”

 

It was nothing short of an amazing season for the Chargers this year. Hopefully going into the 2024 season, they can build off of the skills they developed this year. Next year there will be official CIF playoffs, and the Chargers are expected to advance far into the postseason.  

 

In their first year of existence, the players and coaches both set a standard of hard work while also developing a collaborative and supportive environment. The Girls Flag football team can continue to build off of this year for next year, as well as the years to come.

 

Edited Dec. 5 for phrasing.

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