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Flag Football

Alonso, Robinson appear in national Nike flag football ad

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Robinson flag football celebrating

Alonso and Robinson are widely recognized throughout Florida as flag football juggernauts. After all, they have a combined seven state titles in the past six years. 

Now, the two powerhouse programs are receiving national recognition. 

On Tuesday, Nike unveiled a new ad campaign to promote flag football. The shoe company and the NFL have pledged $5-million in hopes of turning the game into a national varsity sport. The push includes a commercial featuring Alonso and Robinson that is scheduled to start airing on the NFL Network on Wednesday. 

The teams spent 13 hours filming the spot at Alonso on Jan. 10. 

The connection Alonso and Robinson have with Nike started in the summer of 2019. The company wanted the schools to be their flagship programs in an effort to make girls flag football a high school sport in all 50 states. 

“We did that last year and (Nike) came down to Tampa for the preseason event at the Bucs to check us out and see all the fantastic gear that they put the girls in,” Knights coach Josh Saunders said. “They did a lot of cool things for them during the pandemic, as well”

Each team received roughly $22,000 in gear, including cleats and uniforms. 

In December of last year, Saunders said Nike wanted to the two schools to be a part of a commercial. 

This is not the first time Robinson’s flag football program has had the national stage. 

In November, Knights running back Adrianna Williams got to break down game tape with Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett as part of the NFL’s Next Generation series. The segment aired on ESPN before the Buccaneers’ Monday Night Football game with the New York Giants. 

Last week, Alonso and Robinson represented the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation at the NFL Flag Bowl. 

Flag football is currently sanctioned in state associations in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and New York.

But the sport is growing — not just at the high school level but also in college. 

In May, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced a partnership with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) to put together the first women’s flag football competition governed by a collegiate athletics association.

The plan is to increase participation at the college level through showcases that started this past summer. Competition guidelines will be outlined for colleges interested in starting a program with the first competitive season to be held this year and the first emerging sport or invitational championship in the spring of the following year. 

An emerging sport at the NAIA level must have at least 15 participating schools and invitational status needs at least 25. A sport also is required to have 40 schools involved to be considered for full championship status.

There currently are 11 state colleges that compete at the NAIA level, most of which have already added flag football. 

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NAIA to offer flag football for females

Flag Football

Flag football: Casey Contreras named top player in Hillsborough

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Steinbrenner’s Casey Contreras had a knack for picking off opposing passers, so much that she was recognized as the top flag football player in Hillsborough County. 

The senior took home the Happy Home Goods Outstanding Flag Football Award in large part for recording a county record 40 interceptions in her career. It is the first time the Warriors had a player win the award. 

Contreras contributed in other ways, too. She served as a team mentor, particularly on the academic side. Her help is a big reason Steinbrenner is the four-time defending Class 2A academic state champions, an honor awarded to the team with the highest combined GPA.

Her leadership, loyalty and compassion played a role in a season filled with honors. 

In January, Contreras was the female winner of the Bill Minahan award, given annually to two student athletes who excel on and off the field. 

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Flag Football

Flag football: Robinson’s Sydney Stout named state’s top player

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout, who rewrote the record book as a passer while leading the program to its fifth straight state title, was named Miss Flag Football, the award given to the top overall player in the state by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

After missing last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the senior took over as the Knights’ starter this season and shattered the state records for yards (5,086), touchdown passes (111) and completion percentage (74).  

That prolific passing attack was a big reason Robinson went 22-0, outscoring foes by a combined 876-65 en route to their fifth straight state title in Class 1A and sixth overall. 

Stout beat out Newsome quarterback/defensive back Devyn Silvestri for the top honor. Silvestri, who led the Wolves to their first state title, was named the 2A player of the year. Newsome’s Justin Shive was named the top overall coach in the state.

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Flag Football

Robinson’s Sydney Stout named 1A state player of the year

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Robinson quarterback Sydney Stout, who produced astonishing numbers while leading the program to its fifth straight state title, was named the Class 1A player of the year by the Florida Dairy Farmers. 

The senior, who took over as the starter this season, shattered the state records for yards (5,086), touchdown passes (111) and completion percentage (74).  

That prolific passing attack was a big reason the Knights went 22-0, outscoring foes by a combined 876-65 en route to their fifth straight state title and sixth overall. 

The winners in each classification were selected through voting from a statewide panel of girls flag football coaches and media representatives. They are now eligible to be named the overall winner in the state, which will go through another round of voting and likely be announced next week. 

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