Girls football team wavers on Loma Linda, may end season with no games after LA Adventist closes athletic program


Jillian Einalhori

HISTORY: Firehawk quarterback Nicole Feder raised the ball over the players from LA Adventist High School in Sept. 2013. LA Adventist closed its athletic program this year, possibly ending Shalhevet’s season.

By Tobey Lee, Sports Editor

For the second year in a row, the girls flag football team did not join in the Loma Linda tournament last month. Last year, it was because of Sukkot, but this year not enough players wanted to go.

In a Schoology post Oct. 18 to the Girls Flag Football team page, Athletic Director Ryan Coleman explained the situation.

“Players and families, I regret to inform you all that the team will not be going to the tournament this weekend in Loma Linda,” Coach Coleman wrote. “There were not enough commitments and far too many people wavering whether they wanted to go or not.”

And that was not the final blow to the girls’ season. YULA cancelled a game schedule Oct. 25, and as of this week a field had not been found for a game against Glendale Adventist.

L.A. Adventist in Willowbrook, about 40 minutes southeast of Shalhevet, was an opponent in past years, but this year they had no teams at all.

“Every sports program at their school was shut down due to a lack of funding, so that’s one less school we have to play against,” said Coach Coleman, calling the school “one of the teams that we used to play all the time.”

The Lady Firehawks played half of their games against LA Adventist last year, which means that athletic director Ryan Coleman will have to find other teams that are willing to play against the Firehawks.

Coach Coleman described the problem in an interview.

“There is no league for girls flag football, so it’s a struggle to find games,” he said, “unless we’re going to travel an hour and a half to play a single game.”

That left YULA, and Coach Coleman said he had been notified that YULA assembled a team, but that it had not started practicing. A game was scheduled between the Firehawks and Panthers on Oct. 25, but YULA canceled because according to YULA’s athletic director, the game was never confirmed, only suggested.

According to Coach Coleman, YULA suggested playing on Nov. 9, but Shalhevet declined since it is in the middle of the Glouberman Basketball Tournament.

Outside of YULA, the team is tentatively scheduled to play Glendale Adventist on Nov. 7. But according to Coach Coleman, Glendale Adventist still has to secure a field and asked Shalhevet to find one, but preparations for Glouberman made that impossible for him.

Coach Coleman has coached the girls team himself this year, having coached boys football and baseball in addition to the varsity basketball team in the past.

Cornerback Sarina Finn said in September that the team needed more of a bond to succeed. “We’re a lot less connected than last year, I think because we started practicing so late,” said Sarina.

The Firehawks started practicing Sept. 25, which was less than a month before they were supposed to go to Loma Linda.

Sarina thought the team would start off rusty, since they do not have lots of chemistry and are a particularly big team. Also, with 10 freshmen on the team, new ninth-graders would be playing important positions left vacant by seniors who graduated last year.

But she also said that since the team is not in a formal league, the Firehawks can enjoy practicing more.

“Football, for girls at least, has always been more of a fun sport rather than so much of a competitive sport,” she said.

Last year, the girls team finished without playing at Loma Linda and ended up playing just four games, finishing with a 2-2 record. This year, the team had only two games scheduled, one against Glendale Adventist and one against YULA.