Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter
Junior Kaylee Guiles finds a hole in against Kent-Meridian.

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter Junior Kaylee Guiles finds a hole in against Kent-Meridian.

Kent’s girls flag football teams make solid first impression

Kentlake reigns supreme, sitting at 2-0 after the first two games of the season.

After being delayed a week due to sub-freezing temperatures, high school girls flag football in the North Puget Sound League (NPSL) kicked off Jan. 19 at French Field in Kent.

The proposed Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) sport for 2024-25 had developed a lot of excitement and anticipation for this club season in the I-5 corridor.

“It’s all fun and exciting,” said Kentwood High School Coach Robert Thomas. “It’s a fun little twist where everybody is challenged and everyone is learning and developing.”

Kent was the first location for games in the regular season with all four Kent schools playing each other to start out the season. All four schools played doubleheaders on Friday night under the lights at French Field.

The combined number of players rostered was 80 across the four schools. Kentlake had the most players with 23 on the Falcons’ roster.

Kentlake walked away the only undefeated team, taking down Kent-Meridian and Kentridge in its two games. Under Head Coach Gregory Naegle, the Falcons have impressed the Enumclaw High School linebackers coach.

“It was an absolute blast,” Naegle said. “To see the girls where we started to where we are now, competing and having fun. Just a tremendous amount of perseverance tonight.”

Kentwood dropped its first game against Kentridge, which might have had the least number of players on Friday, but didn’t play like it. The Conks bounced back with a night high 28-12 win over Kent-Meridian.

Kentwood’s Thomas liked the resilience of his group.

“It says a lot (for the girls mental adjustment),” Thomas said. “Especially when it’s something that is not second nature… Even them grasping simple terms like an out-route, MOR (must outside release) or slant… It’s really stimulating to see the fact that these girls are able to adjust and learn and keep on going.”

“It was definitely a rough start, but everyone is catching on,” said Kentwood senior Kamalu Kagawa. “We had to learn from that first game how fast it was and how everyone was moving. But we caught on to it in the second game and started seeing patterns and going quicker.”

For the first night of games, the matchups were ultra-competitive. In all four games, for long periods of time the games were either tied or within one possession. With those types of games being as close as they were, the home bleachers started to fill up for an incredible opening night atmosphere.

In the first pair of games, Kentridge defeated Kentwood, 22-14, and Kentlake took down Kent-Meridian, 19-14.

For the second coupling of games, both undefeated teams matched up and both teams who lost faced off. Kentwood took a 14-12 lead and never looked back against Kent-Meridian for their first win of the season, and Kentlake defeated Kentridge in a tightly contested 14-8 game.

“It was really fun. A contact sport brings more energy,” said Kentlake freshman Hi’ilei Gomes. “I did have hope for us because I knew we were improving at practice. But winning out first two games? Especially against Kentridge, I wasn’t expecting that.”

Kentlake already feels the pressure and weight that comes with being the lone undefeated Kent school.

“Them lining up against new faces other than anyone someone that they line up against at practice. We talked about rising to the occasion, we talked about a target being painted on our backs and they rose to the occasion. I loved it,” Naegle said.

These flag football players, before they even played against other schools, had proved to be battle tested.

“The fact being is these girls have been out here for six, seven, eight weeks just straight practice, practice, practice. In the dark, cold, sideways wind and what not. They were finally able to come out here and put in the play was outstanding,” Thomas said.

Some girls may have been influenced by family, or maybe just being available during the winter season to play a sport.

“Both of my older brothers played and my mom was really pushing me to do it. I wasn’t doing much anyways,” said Kentwood’s Kagawa said. “It definitely was worth it and I have like a new sisterhood, so that is really fun.”

Girls on all teams came from different backgrounds. There were softball, rugby, soccer players and other sports in the mix, so these were some great athletes on display for fans at French Field.

“Usually, I play soccer but a change with new people was fun and cool. Building a sisterhood is just fun seeing everyone smiling. Whether it is pulling a flag or getting a touchdown everyone is celebrating together. It is just a cool environment,” Kagawa said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

Kamalu Kagawa goes airborne after a Kentridge player grabs her flag.

Kamalu Kagawa goes airborne after a Kentridge player grabs her flag.

Kentlake Jr. Quarterback Jasmine Demecillio prepares to take the snap.

Kentlake Jr. Quarterback Jasmine Demecillio prepares to take the snap.

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter
Harnur Kaur (9) celebrates Tenjnq Kaba (10) after she pulled a flag.

Photos by Ben Ray / The Reporter Harnur Kaur (9) celebrates Tenjnq Kaba (10) after she pulled a flag.

More in Sports

2024_0131_GYMNASTICS PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBBY MULLIKIN
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Natalie Quinn

Quinn has been a pillar of Kentwood gymnastics and led the team as an all-around.

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Brandon Tagle

Tagle help lead the Conk basketball team to its first district championship since 2017.

Kentwood swimmer in the fly section of the IM race. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood and Kentridge record points at state swim

Swimmer and diver recorded points at the King County Aquatic Center.

Oksana Galiant face-to-face with her opponent in the state championship. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Mat Classic XXXV breakdown: Kent School District

Kentwood’s Wright and Kent-Meridian’s Galiant just miss titles.

t
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Tyler Lopez

Lopez is a natural born leader and has a bright future ahead of him.

t
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Liliana Delgado Hernandez

Delgado Hernandez has a fearless and positive attitude.

Sophomore Brandon Tagle drives to the hoop in the second half. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood boys basketball makes state for first time since 2020

Conks needed an extra quarter to get past SPSL champs Sumner on the road.

Royal 165-pound wrestler Jessie Neff pins his opponent early in the tournament. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Wrestling: Kent-Meridian sends eight to state

Royals took second in the district tournament at Todd Beamer.

3A NPSL MVP Jaylen Petty dunks the ball against Lincoln in the first round of the playoffs. Ben Ray / The Reporter
NPSL All League basketball awards announced

Auburn, Kent and Federal Way school districts represented.

t
Kent Reporter Female Athletes of the Week: Ness Votiesek and Kiele Vaisese

Votisek and Vaisese are making a difference for the Kentwood unified team.

t
Kent-based T-Birds goalie Ratzlaff chosen WHL Goaltender of the Week

Goalie stopped 62 of 63 shots in victory over Everett Silvertips

Junior Kaylee Guiles finds a hole in against Kent-Meridian. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kent’s girls flag football teams make solid first impression

Kentlake reigns supreme, sitting at 2-0 after the first two games of the season.