No, it’s not the Super Bowl, but students attending Florida State College at Jacksonville have a football competition to call their own. Teams from around FSCJ stampeded across the not-so-frozen tundra of North Campus, competing in the school’s annual 4-on-4 flag football tournament Nov. 21.
Six teams–four from North Campus, one from Downtown Campus, and one from Kent Campus–faced off in a series of 20-minute games at the school’s athletic field. “It gives students a chance to have some camaraderie and some fellowship and enjoy competition,” said Kerry Roth, North Campus student engagement coordinator. Roth said the event continues the school’s tradition of intramural sports, going back to its foundation as Florida Junior College in 1965. Teams from every campus in the FSCJ system have won the competition since its inception.
Many of the players brought years of football experience to the action. North Campus student Tyler Woodle formerly played conventional gridiron football, lining up as a standout wide receiver at West Nassau High School. On Friday, he was among the competitors dodging tackles and snatching flags in football of a different style. “Honestly, it kind of feels the same,” he said. “College is a bit different than high school, but playing sports is just the same to me.”
Flag football differs considerably from the more conventional 11-man version that Americans know well. In addition to using fewer players and a smaller field, flag football greatly restricts contact. Instead of tackling, defenders stop ball carriers by capturing flags attached to their uniforms. Because most blocks, stiff arms, tackling and other common forms of football contact are prohibited, flag football emphasizes agility and elusiveness rather than power and strength. For students like Woodle, the event provides one more opportunity to relive the thrill of the game. “I haven’t played football since high school,” Woodle said. “I’ve been looking forward to this so I can touch the ball again.”
The day ended in celebration for the Victorious Secret team from North Campus, which edged the Fantastic IV from Kent Campus 26-19 in the final.