Youngstown flag football team advances to national championships

Two Youngstown flag football teams will compete in the national championships in San Francisco, California.
Two Youngstown flag football teams will compete in the national championships in San Francisco, California.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You could call it their Super Bowl walk through — two local flag football teams had their last practice in Youngstown on Wednesday night, before their appearance in the national championships in San Francisco, California.

The teams — a co-ed team and a girls’ team — are coached by Elliot Giles, who runs Youngstown Flag Football. This is the third year in a row that Giles has coached two teams to nationals, and his girls’ team won a national title in 2012.

“To say that we have two teams from Ohio competing on a national stage is something these kids should be proud of,” Giles said.

The teams will face up against 32 teams from across the county. To make it to nationals, eight regional tournaments were held with four winners in each tournament.

The Youngstown teams will complete in the 9-10 and 13-14 girls division (There are some 11-year-old players competing in the 9-10 division, but they were 10 when the season started, Giles said).

“We’re just really excited. I’ve went before to nationals, but I’m just really excited,” said 13-year-old Rebecca Catlos, of Springfield.

The teams leave on Friday and will return next Tuesday. It’s a special trip for the players, but Giles and the players are focused on winning it all.

“I’m most excited about bringing the championship back for Ohio,” said 14-year-old Vaneesha Pasley, of Austintown.

To win the title, both teams will have to beat seven other flag football teams from across the county to win the title in their age group. The tournament starts Saturday.

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