Girls’ Varsity Flag Football Makes History at LHS

 The Lynbrook girls’ flag football team finished its inaugural season with a 6-1-1 streak and an entrance into the playoffs. The team was formed by the Girls Flag Football League, which, in collaboration with the New York Jets and Nike, aims to bring opportunities for girls to have more representation in sports. Lynbrook, along with 40 other towns across Long Island and New Jersey, were introduced to the league this year.     

Flag football is played similarly to regular football in that the players have the same objective: to score points by moving the ball down the field into the endzone. The true difference is the elimination of physical contact; in flag football, a “tackle” is made when a player removes the belt of another player. If a player loses his/her flag belt either legally or illegally, he/she is considered down. The scoring is also altered slightly, with touchdowns and safeties with six and two points, respectively.

As stated on the New York Jets website (, The Jets High School Girls Flag Football League “will provide character building, perseverance, teamwork, and dedication skills that will empower these girls throughout every aspect of their lives” and supports the #EmpowHER movement. The team has received much support from the Lynbrook community and administration, especially from Physical Education Teacher Robert Kolb, who coached the team.

The season began in the spring and was kicked off with the Flag Football Jamboree at Long Beach Middle School. At the Jamboree, The Long Beach Athletic Department hosted a clinic in which nine Nassau County high school teams, including Lynbrook, participated. Over 200 girls had the opportunity to strengthen their flag football skills and practice with pros before beginning their games. 

Kolb, along with captains Izzy Sanchez, Kaelynn O’Brian, Keziah Job, and Tyla Vuotto, led the team from their first game against Hempstead all the way to the first round of playoffs. “Teaching the basic principles of football and then watching the players execute them on game day has been awesome. I am proud of every player no matter the outcome of the game. The most important thing for me is that they are smiling and having fun,” said Kolb.

Throughout the season, Lynbrook’s offense was among the highest-scoring in the conference. Defense was also at the top of the leaderboard, boasting the least number of points scored against. The team’s success on the field has inspired others in the community to play the sport in the future. “You know it is a successful season when after each game we have little kids coming up to our players and saying that they want to play flag football when they are in high school,” said Kolb. 

Junior Alexi Deninno shared that she loved learning the new sport and she is so happy to have been a part of a great experience. “I love working with Mr. Kolb. He is a great coach and was very patient when teaching us the rules,” she said. “Our team [did] amazing,” Sanchez remarked. “Our offense and defense [were] strong, and we worked very well together as a team!”

As the season came to an end after a tough loss in the first round of playoffs, the players and coaches reflected on their experience. “Lynbrook has some amazing athletes.Watching them on the same playing field is a thing of beauty. There are times that I need to take a step back and really watch them compete at such a prominent level,” Kolb shared. Sanchez added,“This has been an experience I will never forget, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be one of the first girls ever in Nassau County to play girls’ flag football for their high schools!. Sophomore Mackenzie Casey shared that her favorite part of playing flag football is the good chemistry between the team: “Despite all our busy schedules, when we come together for practices and games, we work so well together and are successful.” 

The New York Jets hope to further expand the sport with the long-term goal of having it adapted into an official varsity championship sport in both New York and New Jersey. As for the future of the sport in Lynbrook, Kolb envisions holding youth clinics to spark even more interest within the community, and Sanchez hopes to see more girls joining flag football because it is “such a fantastic opportunity for them to get involved in.”