Fort Walton Beach, FL---The sport of football until now, was basically the domain of the boys, at least in terms of playing competitively on the high school level.
That is changing, and at least some female athletes in the area are getting their chance to play flag football.
The bright lights shine on the football field the same. The fans, still wild. What's different is that this game is for the girls.
"Oh, it is totally awesome." says Fort Walton Beach flag football team co-captain Courtney Frye. "I mean, everybody's like, 'y'all are gonna play football? Y'all are all gonna get hurt.' And I'm like, 'Oh no. you should see us practice.'"
Miranda Colgan, another senior co-captain, talks about starting up with this sport. "The first few practices were really hard, but once you get into it, it's more like, 'I'm playing football!' rather than 'Oh my God this is super hard.'"
"I've grown up playing football with my brothers and stuff, but this is just awesome to know that we just had powderpuff which was against the school and now it's just an all-around thing.
Fort Walton Beach's team is coached by Logan Walls, who played high school ball himself, and is an assistant with the FWB boy's team.
"It's actually a title nine sport, so now instead of being 60-40 male-to-female ratio, now it's 50-50. So that allowed Okaloosa County to be able to start a flag football program."
Four teams, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Crestview, and Choctaw, are all celebrating their inagural flag football seasons with strong turnouts and motivated athletes.
"We've had no problem with getting enough girls to play and fill this roster." coach Walls tells us.
"Everybody thinks, oh we're so girly, we can't lift a hand." says Frye. "And we're all just like, 'No we can get down on the ground and get dirty', and that's really cool."
The fans here in the bleachers will for the first time ever see the Fort Walton Beach girls take the field. As for the players, they're gonna soak in this historic moment and take advantage of this exciting opportunity.
"It's gonna be really exciting," says Colgan "being that I want to come back and coach next year, because I'm staying in the area once I go to college. But it's still gonna be like, 'Ooh look, I was the first person to actually play center.'"
Frye agrees with that future thinking. "It'll be fun to come back and watch, kinda like Miranda, I want to come back and help and just watch everyone who gets to do this again."
Says coach Walls "I'm glad we were able to take the step to have a flag football program. i know the girls are excited. It's fast, it's fun, so I think that whenever people actually get to play it, I think they'll enjoy it."
In this first season, the four Okaloosa County teams will face each opponent twice and grow the schedule from there in future seasons.