Flag Makes History in Oregon

Robinson’s Flag Girls creates an enormous impact on the girl’s flag football community across the country.


Photo Courtesy of Julia Guillermo

Robinson Girl’s Flag Football team poses in front of a sign that reads “Create the future of sports” outside of the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Cecilia Cheng and Ashlyn Miller

Robinson’s Girls Flag Football is known for its seven state championship titles and hardworking players. The Knights had the chance to travel to the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. on Friday, Aug. 26, to play against the Alonso Ravens in the Nike Kickoff Classic. The team came home with a victory, defeating their longtime rival with a score of 12-6. For many players, this was a dream they wish they could relive.

“It was honestly unreal and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am so grateful for,” Captain Julia Guillermo (’23) said. “For me, it was not just experiencing it, but being able to take part in it with my teammates that made it that much more special.”

The Knights started off strong and steady, as one of the captains, Katejion Robinson (’23), scored the first touchdown in the entire game. Even though the play was unplanned, she out raced everyone to the endzone, and gained the team six points in the first quarter.

“We knew that Alonso pulls different challenges, so we had very specific practices for the girls,” Head Coach Joshua Saunders said. “[Alonso] didn’t do everything they were supposed to do all the time, so I think the preparation part of that was good.”

Many goals also come with many misses. In the second quarter, the team had a few unexpected incomplete passes and even a missed score. With only three seconds left, Quarterback Haidyn Spano (’25) was able to block off one of Alonso’s long passes into the end zone, ending the second quarter with a 6-0.

“I think Haidyn performed amazingly as a quarterback who is only a sophomore, especially with all the pressure that was being put on her for being in front of national T.V.,” Captain Manasvi Vijayaraghavan (’24) said.

As the third quarter began, Alonso scored their only points in the entirety of the game. Towards the end of the quarter, Alonso was able to get close to the end zone, but Spano was yet again able to knock the ball away, blocking a pass that would’ve been another touchdown for the Ravens.

“Haidyn really showed off her skills at this game… She would always take advice Coach Saunders tells her and implemented it in the next play,” Vijayaraghavan said.

As the game continued, Adrianna Williams (’23) lunged for the final touchdown at 3rd and goal, bringing the score to 12-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. She was able to run the short yard and get the ball across the line before Alonso’s defense pulled her flag.

“I think we were able to stay calm and play well despite the pressure of such a big game,” Captain Bella Rodrigues (’23) said. “Katé and Adrianna made really good offensive plays which were really important to our success in the game.”

However, things took a wild turn when Alonso Wide Receiver Makenna Sturgis stole the ball from the Knights during one of Spano’s long passes with three minutes left of the whole game. These final few minutes can make a difference between a win and a loss for the team. The Knights were able to perform a strong defense, coming back to Tampa with another victory to add to their ever-growing collection.

“In reality, this game was an exhibition because our goal would always be to win state titles. With this game, we couldn’t win or lose a state title,” Saunders said. “My hope is for this game to impact the girl’s flag football community greatly. Girls are going to see this on national television… they will be able to see high-level athletes making high-level plays and also all the enthusiasm and passion the girls have for the sport.”