HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Girls flag football has been around North Alabama for a few years now, but this summer it officially became sanctioned as a championship sport. And this summer, Westminster Christian decided to join in on the action and create a varsity team.

“It’s just something that we’ve been wanting to do for the girls who don’t really have a sport and we want to show that we can do what the guys are doing. All of the other schools are doing it and I’m like, ‘We have a really athletic team here.’ And I just thought we could start something that was good,” Westminster Christian wide receiver Ella Henshaw said.

“We kind of talked about flag football at the end of last semester and I told the girls, ‘Listen if y’all get enough girls to get a team and I’d be happy to be the coach.’ And the girls, they went and found enough girls to be on the team and I said ‘Let’s do this, I’m in,'” Westminster Christian girls flag football head coach Preston Webb added.

Now, Westminster Christian is the newest girls’ flag football varsity team with 18 players on the roster competing in Class 1A-5A.

Some of the girls grew up loving the sport while others are still learning, but they’ve all been working together all summer to get the plays down and to grow as a team and as individuals.

“My grandfather has been getting us Alabama tickets since I was three so I’ve always grown up with it and then my dad didn’t have any sons so I was just his athletic girl,” Henshaw said.

“I had to definitely come out here and learn everything new because even water girling I don’t really know what’s going on sometimes. It’s good to learn something new and be out of your comfort zones. Everyone’s been very supportive and very helpful and everyone understands that we’re starting something new,” Westminster Christian senior linebacker Shelby Layne added.

“Me learning a new sport, them learning a new sport, but it’s been a lot of fun. They have the work ethic, the thirst, the want for this. they want this more than anything. They see the play work and they have the ah-ha moment of oh that’s why we’ve been practicing this so much, we get to see it work in real-time,” Webb said.

As the Wildcats prepare for their first-ever game day, they’re also enjoying this entire new experience and they hope this is just the start of flag football at Westminster.

“It just shows the community that we’re all wanting because sports is where I find my most loving community and just meeting new girls that I wouldn’t meet during soccer has been a blessing,” Henshaw said.

“When we sat down with our meeting with Coach Adams we weren’t sure if it was going to happen because he had some serious questions. It was so wonderful to create something that will be here and I know that the lower school has a girls’ flag football team so they can come up and already have a team to play on,” Layne added.

“We’re going to have some bumps and bruises just because they are playing a new sport even though we’ve been practicing for weeks and months, we are going to have some bumps and bruises but I think the adrenaline is going to be high, the excitement is going to be high. This year is the 60th birthday of Westminster and I’m hoping that in another 60 years, we can celebrate the 60th year of girls’ flag football and I hope this year we can start that legacy and we can show that football’s been around here for quite a while but football is not just for the boys anymore and we can start that with this flag football team this year,” Webb said.

Wesminster Christian will open its inaugural season on Tuesday in a doubleheader against Sparkman and Mae Jemison.