The Seminole Ridge High School girls varsity flag football team is off to a strong start this season. After the team’s first seven games, the Hawks are perfect with a 7-0 record. Over those seven victories, five of them have been shutouts.
Offensively, Seminole Ridge has been virtually unstoppable. The team has scored 191 points in those first seven games. As powerful as they have been on offense, they have been more dominant on defense, yielding only 13 points.
Seminole Ridge girls varsity flag football head coach Scott O’Hara said his team knows that daily improvement is necessary in order to be ready for big games in the postseason, which starts in mid-April and concludes in early May at the Florida High School Athletic Association’s state finals, which will be held May 12-13 at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville.
“Our goal each day in practice and games is to do everything one percent better than the practice or game before,” said O’Hara, now in his eighth year as the team’s head coach. “We are constantly striving to get better, and we know we must in order to achieve both our individual and team goals for this season.”
At Seminole Ridge, it’s fair to say that the expectations of the girls flag football team are quite high, since the school has won five FHSAA state titles (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and been the state runner-up on three other occasions (2014, 2017 and 2018).
Two of the big reasons for the team’s success this season have been the play of quarterback Jaida Salguero on offense and the performance by safety Dakota Parks on defense.
Salguero’s decision-making and execution makes the offense click.
“Jaida Salguero has been a real leader both on and off the field,” O’Hara said. “She is that rare dual-threat player, playing the most important position in all of sports that gives us a lot of confidence going into every contest. It’s not just her throwing and running that make her great, but as she sees the field so well and has an uncanny feel for the game.”
Parks’ play on defense is a thorn in the side of opposing teams.
“Dakota Parks is our safety and a starting wide receiver on offense. She is a coach’s dream,” O’Hara said. “She always comes to practice with the mindset to outwork everyone and to always do things the right way. She has really improved in two years, which is a testament to her incredible work ethic. The sky’s the limit on what she can accomplish in her football career. She is super-fast and athletic and joins an impressive list of incredible safeties we have been very fortunate to have had at Seminole Ridge in my eight years now as the varsity coach.”
Seminole Ridge’s success can also be attributed to senior leadership.
In addition to Salguero, O’Hara has three other seniors who are invaluable members of this year’s team. They are Chelsea Nedoroscik, Kyarra Howard and Cayley Chieffalo.
Nedoroscik plays center and cornerback, Howard is a slot receiver and middle linebacker, and Chieffalo lines up as a slot receiver and outside linebacker.
“Chelsea is extremely talented and has a brilliant mind for the game,” O’Hara said. “She is truly like having another coach on the field and impresses me more every day. Kyarra is the ultimate team player, who makes every player around her better by leading by example with her incredible play and unmatched athleticism. She can really do it all on the field. Cayley has unbelievable skill and competitiveness. She plays her best in the biggest moments, like the great ones do. It is not surprising that she is the daughter of Seminole Ridge varsity head football coach Chad Chieffalo.”
In addition to his four seniors, two of O’Hara’s juniors are an integral part of the team’s overall success — Angelina Sanchez and Lily Locke.
“Angelina is a dynamic two-way player who is our relentless rusher and also possesses terrific pass-catching ability from our blocking and slot receiver positions, while Lily is as solid as they come with rare versatility and outstanding play as our slot receiver and backup quarterback,” O’Hara said.
The other members of Seminole Ridge’s 13-player roster include Alexa Baez (slot receiver and rusher), Sydney Pena (slot receiver and middle linebacker), Lola Agosto (slot receiver and outside linebacker), Gisella Negron (wide receiver and outside linebacker), Victoria Ayllon (slot receiver and corner) and Carrie Didio (wide receiver and outside linebacker). Baez is a junior; Pena, Agosto and Negron are sophomores; and Ayllon and Didio are freshmen.
“Each girl uniquely adds her talent and constructive influence, which builds our wonderful team chemistry and resolve,” O’Hara said. “Even more impressive to me is that all our players are magnificent in the classroom, too. They are true student-athletes who take their classwork very seriously, and that makes me very proud.”
O’Hara is strongly optimistic that this year’s team will continue to create special memories.
“I can’t wait to see what they accomplish together,” he said.
O’Hara is also quick to point out that any accolades he receives as the head coach must be shared with his staff.
“I can’t thank our assistant coach, Ron Taylor, and our team mom, Carrie Chieffalo, enough for all their hard work and expertise in helping our program,” O’Hara said. “They both have been invaluable to me.”
The team will look to continue its winning ways on Tuesday, March 28 against Pahokee and on Saturday, April 1 with a pair of games against Riverview High School and Pembroke Pines Charter School.