4 Questions with Sequoyah flag football coach Emily Ryan Goodson

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Today’s interviewee is Sequoyah flag football coach Emily Ryan Goodson, whose team is 8-0 and leading Area 2 of Division 2 in the GHSA’s newest girls sport. [See today’s List for the Maxwell Ratings' top 20 in each division.] Flag football is being sanctioned as an official state-championship sport this season for the first time.

Emily Ryan Goodson, Sequoyah flag football coach

1. How is the season going for the state as a whole? For someone who’s not following it, but would be interested, what would you tell them about the season? “The sport of flag football is booming throughout the entire state of Georgia and is just going to keep spreading nationwide. For the 2019 season, there were only six counties participating, and now it is a GHSA-sanctioned sport statewide with over 100 schools competing for a state championship. Each area will send its top four finishers to the 32-team state tournament. State playoffs for Division 1 and Division 2 will begin on Dec. 9, with the state championship occurring on Dec. 28.” [The two flag football championships will go off at noon and 2 p.m. ahead of the two Class A championship games that day at Georgia State.]

2. What kinds of teams are the best in flag football? What’s the talent/skillset that gives certain teams an edge? “Defense wins championships – those teams that can keep teams out of their end zone, as a whole, are the most successful. Offensively in this league, if you’ve got a quarterback that can get the ball downfield to receivers, you are going to be hard to stop. On top of throwing the ball, successful teams also have a balanced running attack.” [Sequoyah has shut out four of its eight opponents.]

3. What strategies are the best? Is it running, passing, ‘flag-pulling’ technique? “Strategically you can have the best defensive scheme in the state, but if you cannot pull flags, it doesn’t matter. You have to finish every play with a pulled flag to be successful. On offense, you always want to have a balanced attack running and passing, but if you have a quarterback that can throw the ball downfield, this will help ensure success by constantly putting pressure on cornerbacks and the defense.”

4. Why is flag football popular, and important, for the GHSA and the teams and players that participate? “Flag football is so popular because it’s the first time in history women have a shot at playing competitive football. So many young female athletes have never before had the chance to play competitive football, and now Georgia is helping to spread this sport nationwide for every young girl to have the opportunity I only wish I had while in high school.” [Goodson is a 2014 Sequoyah graduate who played high school volleyball and basketball and college basketball at Wofford. She is also Sequoyah’s assistant girls basketball coach.]

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