Point flag football hits major milestones

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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Every first-year program has several hurdles to overcome, and Point’s flag football team is starting to overcome some of its early challenges. 

Over the weekend, the Lady Skyhawks earned their first wins in program history while facing off in the Georgia Invitational at Reinhardt University. Point earned its first win on Friday by beating Pasco 16-6, and the Skyhawks earned their second win in program history on Saturday by beating Reinhardt 19-13. 

“It was awesome,” Point coach Theseus Jackson said. “We’ve been so close since we started, and to finally get over that hump and get that win, was big not just for the girls but the school. The win over Reinhardt just brought some type of excitement to the school.” 

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“Each sport has had big wins, but for some reason that win against Reinhardt just brought a whole new excitement to Point. It was very exciting to see that.” 

The first year of a program is usually a rebuilding year. Jackson is starting to find some of the players that can be building blocks for the team this year and in the future. 

Players like Laynie-Grace Benefield, Caitlin Raynor and Maddy Motz have been the Stallworths for the program early on, but several new additions have made an early impact. 

Destinee Ellison is a newcomer to the program as she had to finish basketball season before stepping on the gridiron. Ellison might be new, but she has already made a huge impact on the team. 

“This weekend was her first time playing, and she made an immediate impact,” Jackson said. “Three days of practice, and [she] just stepped up and did what she had to do. She helped us a lot over the weekend.” 

Kyra Hart has been one of the players that Jackson has been able to rely on for leadership. Hart started with the program as a graduate assistant before deciding to step on the field with the Skyhawks. Hart starting the season as a coach has made her a natural leader on the field, and the other players have responded to her leadership. 

“Her being out there, she’s pretty much the unquestioned leader of the group after she made the transition from coach to player,” Jackson said. “When she talks, all the girls listen. She has been the biggest blessing for me since we started.” 

The wins have started to come for Point’s flag football team, but the early parts of the season have been full of challenges. The Skyhawks started the season 0-4 and were struggling to find their footing on offense. 

“Early on, it was just getting them to understand that, yes we don’t have a full team because of basketball season. Just having them have that next person up mentality,” Jackson said. “A lot of them didn’t understand that.”
Jackson has faced his own set of challenges this season as a first-time head coach. Jackson has a wealth of experience with football and flag football, but some of the administrative responsibilities were new to him. 

“Being by myself to kind of handle everything, yes I still have Kyra as my G.A., but there’s a lot of stuff that she doesn’t know that I know. I just take care of it myself because I don’t want to put her in a bad position or make us look bad,” Jackson said. “I had to get used to that.” 

Jackson has relied on several athletes from other sports to help the younger athletes understand what it is like to be a college athlete. Jordan Palmer played volleyball before the season, and Benefield played soccer. Palmer and Benefield have played a major role in teaching some of the other athletes about conditioning and taking care of their bodies.

Last weekend marked the first time this season that the Lady Skyhawks had most of their roster. The athletes from the basketball team got on the field for the first time. Those additions have added to Point’s depth and improved the team. 

The basketball players naturally had a learning curve to playing football and being outdoors. Jackson has learned to relate basketball to football to quickly teach the new additions the sport. 

“What I have done was try to relate flag to basketball as much as I could,” Jackson said. “Just yesterday I told one of the girls that this was just like a pick and roll in basketball. We ran the play and she executed it perfectly.” 

The new additions to the team have already fit in, and the wins over the weekend have Jackson excited for the future of his program. 

“The first people were like, ‘Oh, man Point is losing.’ It was kind of discouraging. I was stressing at first,” Jackson said. “Being with them made me think more logically.” 

First years are typically for rebuilding, but Jackson is not resigning his team to a losing season. Jackson believes that this team has an opportunity to compete for a national title this season. 

“I want us to really compete,” Jackson said. “The goal is still the same. I want to make a run to the national championship. That’s one thing I’m never going to cut myself short with. Being a champion, having championship athletes, that’s always the goal to be playing at the end of the season and have the clock hit zero and be the one holding the trophy.”