Nick Furman
ASU Student Journalist

With flag football on the rise, Chandler Prep faces challenges to field a team

November 7, 2023 by Nick Furman, Arizona State University

Zach Gurule, the athletic director of Chandler Prep, in his office (Photo by Nick Furman/AZPreps365)

Nick Furman is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Chandler Prep for

Fifty-four Arizona high schools participated in the first season of girls flag football, but for smaller schools like Chandler Prep, fielding a team is a challenge.

Last December girls flag football became an Arizona Interscholastic Association-sanctioned sport for the first time in the fall of 2023. Chandler Prep doesn’t have a flag football team, but athletic director Zach Gurule would love to have one for the high school. 

“I don’t think it would ever be something we would just shut down completely,” Gurule said. “I would love to, if the interest is there and it’s feasible to do, I would love to add whatever we can.”

Since this is the first year that flag football is a high school sport in Arizona, there is some uncertainty about what high schools need to do to field a team. 

Flag football runs during the fall semester, same as volleyball. Chandler Prep's volleyball program has a strong winning history. This past fall Chandler Prep volleyball won the 2A South Region despite having a coaching change halfway through the season. 

“Volleyball is so big here at Chandler Prep,” Gurule said. “We wouldn’t want to take away from that.”

Chandler Prep has around 300 students. Gurule doesn’t want to take players from the school's stonger programs.

Chandler Prep does have a co-ed middle school flag football team. Robert Bond has been the head coach for the middle school team for the past three years. Bond said he would love to be the head coach for the girls flag football team if Chandler Prep were to create one.

“I think it’s exciting because it’s new for girls,” Bond said. “I have had some really good female athletes that play flag football.”

Bond had four girls on his middle school flag football team this year and told one of them to start up a petition to try and get a team started.

“I’m sure it will happen at some point at Chandler Prep,” Bond said. 

For bigger high schools, like Canyon View High School, getting the depth of girls isn’t as difficult. Canyon View has about 1,800 students.

Canyon View athletic director Andrea Hudson said that after the school held its first powder puff football game the girls showed interest in trying out for the first season of flag football. Hudson gives credit to head coach Cory Beal for getting girls interested in playing flag football. A lot of the girls on the team also play other sports at Canyon View.

Most of the 26 girls on the team are multi-sport athletes.

Hudson said that the team is getting great support from not only the parents but also the student body. She said she believes this season's team is bigger than just football.

“I talked to the girls the other day -- we had just received our plaque from the AIA for our regional championship,” Hudson said. “I know right now you guys don’t understand the magnitude of history you're creating but this has never happened before.”

Hudson is excited about the future of flag football at Canyon View. Gurule and Chandler Prep would love to join in and compete in flag football in the future.