The road to Greenbrier’s flag football area championship began long before the season began in October.
While a 12-6 victory over Evans on Nov. 16 sealed the deal, a summer vacation at Camp Daniel Marshall in Lincolnton helped the Lady Pack find its identity.
“We did all kinds of fun games, activities, drills and things like that,” coach Daniel Jordan said. “When we were there, I really felt like there was a moment on the second or third day where they were really enjoying each other and realizing it was more than just flag football. We are a team.”
In his second season, Jordan admitted it took a little longer to get to grips with the nuances of the sport than he imagined, which contributed to their success this time around.
Greenbrier (14-1) captured the Area 8 championship, outscoring its opponents 339-43. The Lady Pack’s only loss came to Southeast Bulloch, which has arguably been one of the top teams in the country the past two seasons.
Lady Pack tires:This Augusta area coach is the newest branch of the Dip Metress basketball coaching tree
Way to the three-peat:With two GHSA state titles, this Westside basketball team could be the best yet
OK, undoubtedly not; The Yellow Jackets didn’t lose a game in three years of competition and were 57-0.
“It definitely helps that the coaching staff has been here for two years,” he said. “I think we had a lot to learn last year. We felt a little humbled and talked mostly about me. Flag football is a completely different sport than football. In my opinion it wasn’t that big of a transition. To be honest, the learning curve was bigger than I expected.”
According to MaxPreps, Greenbrier is ranked No. 2 in Georgia behind Southeast Bulloch. Other Augusta-area teams include Evans (12) and Lakeside (21).
Greenbrier will host the first and second rounds of the Georgia High School Association 5A-6A state playoffs on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Wolf Den. The first game is scheduled for 5 p.m. against Miller Grove (8-5).
Adjusted flag football playoff schedule
Before this year, the first round of the state playoffs began on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Under the new format, teams will have two weeks between the end of the regular season and the postseason. Although the long layoff might be alarming, Jordan said it was welcome.
“It’s difficult to get everyone here to train during the Thanksgiving break,” he said. “You have two playoff games, maybe three different teams that you want to prepare for, and this Monday you had a day of practice. They didn’t ask me, but I like the schedule they moved on a lot better. It’s a bit of a layoff, but it gives us a lot more time to prepare.”
However, this only involves one day between the second and third rounds. That means just one day to prepare for potential opponents.
“Basically you would have to prepare for 16 different teams. Trying to study film and all that is pretty difficult,” Jordan said. “Normally in sport you don’t want to look forward, which is certainly not the case, but as coaches we try to predict what teams we might be up against and try to learn about them now. If we don’t do that, we’ll end up saying we should have done some homework while we had the chance.”
At least for the first few rounds, the Lady Pack has the peace of mind that they are in their own backyard. While they could take their time thinking about how the group might prevail in the end, Jordan knows they have to compete with the best before the end.
“Not having to travel is very important and hopefully who knows how sowing works and who has the easiest way,” he said. “You always look at the round and how it could end, but at the end of the day we want to try to do our best in every game and have the same attitude.”
Flag football continues to grow across the state in Augusta
Startup programs:How Augusta-area high school coaches are approaching developing brand-new flag football programs
With several more schools in the Augusta area beginning programs in 2023, sports are not slowing down. That means greater exposure for the sport and probably better competition. It’s important to note that it took four seasons for a team to win a second regional title, as Greenbrier (2020, 2023), Evans (2022) and Lakeside (2021) have all reached the top before.
Jordan expects this growth to continue into the college ranks, not only because of the talent, but also because of the community surrounding the sport.
“Of course, college flag football exists now, but I see it continuing to grow at this level as it enjoys tremendous popularity at our level and across the country,” he said. “It’s so good for the girls and the other coaches across the state, people are so generous with support and advice. I’ve received a ton of help and it’s unlike anything I’ve experienced in other sports. Everyone just wants the sport to be successful and continue to grow.”