PACE — To say the Patriots have a good girls flag football team is an understatement. Head Coach Chris Raggard has taken his team to a 10-2 record in its first year. The Patriots have also placed four team members on the 9th Annual Capitol City Classic All Tournament Team. Unfortunately, regardless of their prowess the Patriots' season will end on April 18, with an away game at Pine Forest.

"I feel bad for my seniors," Raggard said.

Because this is a first year sport, the school had to play as an independent. The Patriots were limited to playing local teams and tournaments.

"An independent does not play in a district so there is no district or state playoffs," Raggard said. "Next year we will be part of our regular district and we will be able to play for championships."

The four team members named to the All Tournament Team are Destiny Kornegay, defensive back; Autum Manor, wide receiver and rusher; Makayla Michael, wide receiver and defensive back; and Shay Crooks, quarterback and linebacker. It was the first time the event has named an All Tournament Team.

Raggard said most of the players had not played any type of football before this season. Two or three of them had some experience with powder-puff football, but that experience was limited.

Destiny Kornegay and Valerie Goodwin are both seniors and share team captain duties.

"I learned that sometimes you're not going to be the best at everything and learning new things can help you grow as a person," Goodwin said about what she learned playing flag football.

"I think the most important thing is giving your best effort in anything that you do," Kornegay added.

Kornegay said playing football taught her to be open minded when working with new teammates. As captains, they liked seeing the improvements in their fellow players and they agree that Grace Hadder was their most-improved player.

Both girls loved the sport and said they would definitely do it again.

The first practices were a little chaotic, said Raggard. At one point, all the players carried around pieces of paper with instructions on the position they were playing. The other half of practice was like any other football team — working on conditioning.

With most of the team returning, Raggard and his assistants, Bill Jernigan, Justin Shore and Cameron Bozeman are optimistic about next year. And as the season ends, you can see the progress the team and coaches have made, Raggard said. Players no longer carry around those instructions.