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Yonkers Varsity Girls Flag Football

by Warren Rosenberg, MetroSports Magazine March 25, 2024

Everyone is going to have a different path, everyone's going to have

a different situation.

Daniel Jones, New York Giants quarterback


NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and several teammates were on hand as a new path has opened for girls to pursue varsity high school football in the New York metropolitan area and across New York State.

Above: NY Giants QB Daniel Jones with members of the Yonkers Flag team, Photo courtesy of Yonkers Flag

With the approval of Title IX in 1972, the availability of competitive sports participation for female athletes began to improve. In the intervening years women and girls have proven their athletic abilities in a variety of sports at the pre-college, college, amateur, professional, and Olympic levels. Contrary to words of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics that women competing in the Olympics would be “impractical, uninteresting, unaesthetic and indecent”, today’s female athletes have made their mark at all levels.

Today, with financial and logistical support from NFL Giants, Jets and Buffalo Bills, flag football as a championship level varsity sport has become open to girls in New York State under supervision of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA). Section 1, Girls Flag Football programs have opened at Brewster, Carmel, Eastchester, John Jay, Hastings, Horace Greeley, New Rochelle, North Rockland, Mahopac, Mt. Vernon, Ossining, “Poughkeepsie, Scarsdale, Somers, and Tappan Zee high schools.

Flag football is providing thousands of student-athletes with the opportunity to participate, to represent their school community and to be part of a team. I am so appreciative of all of the help and assistance we have received from the NFL, New York Giants, New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills to get Flag Football started," said Dr. Robert Zayas, Executive Director of the NYSPHSAA.

In the opening week of the first ever varsity level high school girls flag football season two new teams, the Yonkers Flag Football Team and the Horace Greeley Flag Football Team faced off against each other in Yonkers. Given the level of enthusiasm and athletic ability shown by the players of both teams, this will be an exciting and competitive addition to the high school sports scene.

On a rainy, cold, 400 afternoon, girls from several Yonkers high schools who make up the current Section 1 Yonkers Flag Football Team took on their counterparts from Horace Greeley high school in Chappaqua. It didn’t take long for the Greeley team to put six points on the board with just over 5 minutes having run off the clock. It took only one minute more for Yonkers to score on a pass reception and touchdown run by Asia Kirkpatrick and for Elizabeth Wallace to convert the extra point bringing the game to 7-6, advantage Yonkers. Yonkers scored twice more in the first half ending the period ahead by the score of 19-6.

Also contributing to the winning effort were Elizabeth Wallace and Adrianna Quishpe who scored the Yonkers 2nd and 3rd touchdowns and Maritza Fajardo and Kelysse Ochoteco who both made interceptions. As the second half progressed, Greeley delivered two unanswered touchdowns bringing the score to 19-18 with the game clock running down to less than 3 minutes left. As Greeley was progressing toward a late game score and possible win, Yonkers intercepted a Greeley pass with 51 seconds left on the clock and ran the ball back for a game winning touchdown, once again by Asia Kirkpatrick, and closing out the game with a 25-18 final score.

Following the game Yonkers Coach Nuryel Benitez gathered the team on the field and congratulated them for the win stating, “Ladies, that was a great game, a great win, you should all be happy (picture below). There was a lot of good – there was some bad – but there’s a lot of potential for the season and that’s a great way to start off. We’re going to play two good teams next week and we’ve got to be ready for that so, enjoy the win now, enjoy tonight, when you wake up in the morning be happy.” And Coach Benitez speaks from experience having played on the Yonkers Brave football team as a student at Yonkers Palisade Prep high school, before completing studies in Kinesiology at Mahnattan College and returning last year to join the Yonkers Public Schools as a physical education teacher and coach.


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