One of the most successful high school athletic programs in Palm Beach County is the girls flag football program at Seminole Ridge High School. Since 2003, when flag football became a girls varsity high school sport, the Hawks have won five state titles (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and been the state runner-up on three other occasions (2014, 2017 and 2018).
Last year’s team — with a record of 16-1 — made it to the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 2A final four in Jacksonville, losing in the state semifinals to Davie’s Western High School 19-6 last May.
Athletic excellence is the annual expectation for flag football at Seminole Ridge. Only one Florida school has more state championships in flag football than Seminole Ridge. It’s Robinson High School from Tampa, which has six state titles.
The current season is off to a great start for the Hawks. They opened up with four consecutive victories. To date, the Seminole Ridge offense has been prolific. The team is averaging nearly 40 points per game. Meanwhile, the defense did not allow a single score in the first four games, which were shutouts.
Seminole Ridge girls varsity flag football head coach Scott O’Hara, now in his seventh year leading the program, is delighted with the play of his squad this season.
“We had a good start to our season and have a promising group this year, led by six seniors,” O’Hara said. “There are some tough teams out there, so more improvement is needed.”
One of the big voids that O’Hara had to fill this year was at quarterback. Lost to graduation last spring was Haylie Young, who is now playing flag football at Keiser University in West Palm Beach. This year’s new quarterback is last year’s center, Alex Wilson.
In Seminole Ridge’s 14-game regular season schedule, there are two big games circled on the calendar. On Saturday, April 9, the Hawks will play two Tampa-area high schools with powerhouse flag football teams: Alonso and Robinson. Despite being in Class 1A, Robinson has been the strongest team in Florida in recent years, winning six out of the last seven FHSAA Class 1A titles. Alonso won the FHSAA’s Class 2A title in 2018 and 2019.
Those two games will be a great test for O’Hara’s team. They will be played at a neutral field, at the Land O’Lakes Recreation Complex, located just north of Tampa.
If the Hawks are going to advance to this year’s FHSAA Class 2A final four on May 13-14 at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, O’Hara will be looking for on-the-field leadership from his six seniors: Danielle Alexis (receiver and linebacker), Sophia Caprio (receiver and cornerback), Alyssa Hill (receiver and linebacker), Rylee Jones (receiver and safety), Nicole Pena (receiver and cornerback) and Alex Wilson (quarterback and linebacker).
“We have six incredible seniors, and I’m so proud of each of them, as they uniquely impact our team in such a positive way,” O’Hara said. “They set the tone for the rest of our players and inspire each teammate to be their very best in every practice and game we compete in.”
Each of those seniors will play a key role between now and a potential sixth FHSAA state championship in mid-May.
“Danielle is a tough, physical pass catcher and defender who had a couple key interceptions in our preseason tourney in Tampa,” O’Hara said. “She brings confidence, enthusiasm and team play to our squad as a gifted senior contributor.”
“Sophia is the ultimate winner and leader who participates in more school activities as a student-athlete than anyone I’ve ever coached,” O’Hara said. “She treats everyone with compassion, loves to compete and is an unbelievable two-way player who always strives to get better.”
“Alyssa is an incredibly talented offensive and defensive player who leads by example on the gridiron,” O’Hara said. “She creates big plays on both sides of the ball and is being counted on immensely for the success of this year’s squad.”
“Rylee is a very dependable, big-game player who has a knack for being in the right place at crucial times in games,” O’Hara said. “Her consistency and aptitude on the field always make her a valuable part of our group as an overseer of our underclassmen.”
“Nicole simply always makes plays,” O’Hara said. “Whether it’s a key pick to stop the opponent’s momentum or the defining catch in a game-winning drive, Nicole always comes through for us. She doesn’t miss practice and leads by example. She is the ultimate model of what a student-athlete should be.”
“Alex is a leader who takes charge during practices and games. She is a perfectionist and is constantly doing anything and everything she can do to improve her play and that of our team,” O’Hara said. “She is filling huge shoes at quarterback with the graduation of Haylie Young from last season, but Alex doesn’t ever back down from a challenge. She will be a true asset to any college she decides to play for next season.”
In addition to the six seniors on the team, O’Hara has four juniors, two sophomores and one freshman who have formed a talented supporting cast. “Our squad is immensely upgraded with juniors Cayley Chieffalo, Kyarra Howard, Chelsea Nedoroscik and Jaida Salguero; sophomores Lily Locke and Angelina Sanchez; and freshman Dakota Parks,” O’Hara said.
While O’Hara may be the head coach, it’s not a one-man show on the sidelines.
“We are also extremely fortunate to have the outstanding coaching of assistant Ron Taylor and the incredible help of team mom Carrie Chieffalo,” O’Hara said.
With an undefeated 4-0 start to the season, one of the most successful high school athletic programs in Palm Beach County is continuing to get better.