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De La Salle Cavaliers win Saints Girls High School Flag Football championship

Cavaliers defeat Academy of Our Lady Penguins 19-0 to complete undefeated season

Saints Girls Flag Football Championship Games at Joe Brown Park on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Photo by Michael DeMocker / New Orleans Saints)
Saints Girls Flag Football Championship Games at Joe Brown Park on Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Photo by Michael DeMocker / New Orleans Saints)

The De La Salle Cavaliers ran the table as they defeated the Academy of Our Lady Penguins 19-0 Saturday to secure the championship and an undefeated season in the inaugural season of Saints Girls High School Flag Football.

The game was a defensive clash through most of the first half with both teams stopping each other on the first four drives. The Cavaliers finally broke the tie with an elaborate play with only three seconds left in the first half scoring a touchdown as the clock expired. De La Salle's Tamia Cole passed it to Kirsten Robinson behind the line of scrimmage before Robinson passed it back to Cole still behind the line of scrimmage who uncorked a deep pass to the end zone for the touchdown caught by Caitlyn Vaughn to go up 6-0.

"So, originally my route was just a post going straight up, but I saw her running and I was like 'oh, I got to get there' and then she threw it up … and I caught it and I was like 'woo,'" Vaughn said.

It wouldn't be the last time Vaughn found her way to the end zone as she secured an interception on the Penguins' first drive of the second half. Players from both teams briefly paused as there was confusion from a flag on the play before Vaughn took off and broke free of the pack for the pick-six to give the Cavaliers a 12-0 lead.

"I caught it and I thought the play was dead, and I'm looking at my coach and he's like 'run, run' and I just took off."

For the final score Cole would find Robinson with a completion in the back of the end zone. She'd also link up with Vaughn again for a reception on the extra point to give the Cavaliers their final points in the 19-0 victory.

Robinson said it felt good to secure the game-winning touchdown.

"I've been trying to play football since eighth grade and now that it's finally a sport and they are finally putting it into action, it feels really good to win a championship for the first time ever," Robinson said.

Penguins Coach Joel Lutz identified two dropped interceptions in the first half as key moments his team failed to capitalize on, but credited the Cavaliers defense in particular for stymying Academy of Our Lady.

"We just couldn't move the ball on them," Lutz. "They are so talented, so athletic and we got to a certain point where we were like 'look, hats off to them.' They are so good, and we got to play our game and our game wasn't working."

The Cavaliers defense proved effective all season, only surrendering two touchdowns, a defense Cavaliers Coach George Neumiller and members of his team referred to as the "no-fly zone."

The team celebration was instant when the final whistle blew as Neumiller quickly found himself on the receiving end of a Gatorade bath and his team chanted "our house." Following the hand shake line, the girls were joined in their celebration by the boys football team who rushed onto the field screaming, cheering and in one case cartwheeling in support of their schoolmates.

Following that, the teams were awarded medals commemorating their season by Saints legend Tyrone Hughes and the Cavaliers received their championship trophy to take back to their St. Charles Avenue campus.

Elicia Broussard Sheridan, senior director of social unification and youth sports development for the Saints, said championship Saturday and the entire season was a success

"It is beyond amazing, way more than what we could have hoped for when you are talking about the level of success," Broussard Sheridan said. "Just the dedication that the coaches and the players have had throughout the year, the support that has come from family, friends, school administrators, everybody has been beyond excited about what has taken place. They are looking forward for the next moment to come."

Hundreds were in attendance in support of their teams on Championship Saturday as all 10 teams played their final games of the year with highly competitive matchups throughout the day including both division championship games requiring overtime to settle.

Broussard Sheridan said there will be plenty of future ways to keep the kids involved coming down the pipeline including mentorship opportunities, clinics and other engagements. The Saints' big target is to get the sport sanctioned by the LHSAA.

"With the effort that has been shown, the engagement and interest that has taken place over the last couple months with this inaugural season," Sheridan said. "Hopefully, that will be enough to convince them that this a thing that is here and here to stay and has the potential to grow into something really huge."

Check out the best action shots from the Championship Games as teams competed on Saturday, May 4 as part of the 2024 Saints Girls High School Flag Football season.

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