BY GENE NARDI
The inaugural Hawks Flag Football Tournament took place at Seminole Ridge High School last Saturday and Sunday and served as a fundraiser for the football program at the high school. Both the boys football and the girls flag football programs will benefit from the event.
“We have the space to host an event like this here, as big as flag football is out here, and the travel teams don’t have to travel so far,” tournament director Scott Barnwell said. “We’re going to do it every year, and hopefully it will grow.”
The tournament provided two open divisions, one for women and the other for men. The event totaled 19 teams for the first-time event. There were a dozen female teams, and seven for the men. Most of the teams were from the Acreage/Loxahatchee area. There were also a few teams from Belle Glade and Wellington.
Many of the players play for the Seminole Ridge High School program. The Hawks flag football team won its fourth state championship this year. The Lady Hawks went 12-0 and took home their fourth title in the last six years. In the community, flag football rivals the boys tackle football program in popularity.
“We had the tournament at this time of the year so former players home from college could participate,” added Barnwell, the Hawks’ head football coach. “We can handle as many as 30-plus teams next year by adding a fourth field on the grounds.”
Several players who graduated this year participated, as well as other Seminole Ridge alumni. Class of 2015 quarterback Emily Coulter played for team Adrenaline. Class of 2015 and FAU commit Jalen Young played for Bad to the Bone. Hawk alum and Lindenwood University running back E.J. Elien also participated, along with a host of others.
If players and spectators grew hungry or needed to hydrate, concessions were provided throughout the weekend. All event proceeds will go toward the football programs for the coming year, and Barnwell is confident the tournament will grow each year.
Not only will the school’s football programs benefit, but the event also served as a reunion for players who once wore the silver, black and red.
The Hawks tackle program starts practice in August, with team members looking to contend for the District 9-8A title in arguably the toughest district in Palm Beach County.
ABOVE: SRHS alum and Lindenwood University running back E.J. Elien finds running room during the first day of the tournament.