In its first year of existence, girls flag football in Cherokee County was, by all measures, a resounding success.

In Year 2, its participants will be playing for actual hardware.

On Wednesday, the Georgia High School Association announced that the sport had officially been sanctioned.

The Sequoyah flag football team was in attendance for the state tournament at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when the announcement was made, and coach Dakota Hughes said the moment was something she had waited years to hear.

“When they made the announcement, we had the confetti fall on our faces, and the music was blasting,” Hughes said. “It’s a dream come true. That’s all I can say.”

According to the release, all Georgia high schools will be able to offer girls flag football as a sport beginning with the 2020-21 school year. Gwinnett County was the first to participate in the sport in 2018 and has since been joined by Cherokee, Forsyth, Henry, Muscogee and Rockdale counties.

A total of 52 schools played the sport this fall across the six counties.

Sequoyah finished this season as county champion and made a run to the state semifinals Wednesday. Hughes said this year’s team should only lose five players to graduation, and with the opportunity to win a state championship now on the line, participation rates could rise quickly in Cherokee County and throughout the state.

“Now that the entire state of Georgia is playing, I think it should really help grow the sport,” Hughes said. “We have a good bit coming back at Sequoyah, so, hopefully, we’ll be able to make a run against next year.

“It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and it’s happening. I’m really excited.”

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