Flag football: Alonso, Robinson to square off in Nike Kickoff Classic

Robinson and Alonso are nationally known as flag football powerhouses. Together, the schools have won a combined nine state titles. 

Their success has raised the profile of the sport, so much that Nike featured both teams in an ad that ran in 2021 during the week of the Super Bowl. The shoe company also has outfitted the two schools, along with many others. 

Now, the Knights and Ravens will have the national spotlight – again. 

The teams will square off against each in a game at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. on Aug. 26, the opening week of the high school football season. 

The matchup is part of the first-ever Nike Kickoff Classic. 

“This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for these players,” said Robinson coach Josh Saunders, whose team has won seven state titles, including six straight. “The elevation of the sport by Nike and the NFL is phenomenal. For us, in this area, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been super supportive for a long time and now to see it grow to where something like this can happen for Flag Football players. It’s amazing.

“We couldn’t be happier to be involved in this event. These players certainly benefit from the work of all of the people that have come before them, and they are committed to continuously pushing to help the sport grow.”

It is not just wins — and titles — that set the programs apart. They also serve as ambassadors for the sport. Last week, Alonso coach Matt Hernandez was part of a Title IX panel at the NFL Flag Summitt, where the topic of females participating in flag football ended up being a lengthy discussion.

“It’s incredible,” Hernandez said of playing Robinson. “We are pretty tangled together in all the cool opportunities we have had. Playing them in this opportunity seems fitting.”