Photo | Reese’s Senior Bowl

Online registration for NFL Flag Football is currently taking place at seniorbowl.com. The deadline to sign up is Aug. 15 for Mobile County and Aug. 24 for Baldwin County.   

Football is a collision sport, so the possibility of injuries has caused many parents to question whether their children should participate. The staff at the Reese’s Senior Bowl recognized this issue, and introduced NFL Flag Football to Mobile County in 2015.

Rob Lehocky, director of public relations with the Senior Bowl, said the sport has had a lot of positive feedback. Its popularity has continued to grow, as a second league was added the following year in Baldwin County.

Organizers describe NFL Flag as a fun activity open to boys and girls that provides opportunities to enjoy football in a noncontact environment. Participants can benefit by being physically active while learning the fundamentals of football along with lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. The sport teaches many of the same skills intrinsic to the tackle game and can serve as a path to padded football.

The registration fee of $50 includes NFL team-branded jerseys, flag football belts, membership in the national USA Football organization and player’s insurance coverage. Only 200 spots are available.

Online registration is currently taking place at seniorbowl.com. The deadline to sign up is Aug. 15 for Mobile County and Aug. 24 for Baldwin County.

The league is divided into three age groups. Developmental is for 6-year-olds (must be 6 by Sept. 1); AFC is for 7- and 8-year-olds; and NFC is for 9- to 12-year-olds (must still be 12 by Oct. 1).

Action will begin with free Kickoff Camps. On Monday, Aug. 20, the Mobile County league will gather at the Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds (1035 Cody Road N. in Mobile), 4:30-6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Baldwin County league will meet at the Foley Sports Tourism Complex (10113 Foley Beach Express in Foley), 4:30-6:30 p.m.

These camps are designed to teach youngsters the NFL Flag fundamentals and rules of play. The camps will also serve as an evaluation period to help form balanced teams.

Games will be played over six weeks — in Mobile County on Mondays from Sept. 10 to Oct. 15, and in Baldwin County on Tuesdays from Sept. 18 to Oct. 23.

Lehocky said volunteer coaches and referees are still needed for both leagues. Please contact him at rob@seniorbowl.com to sign up. More information on the leagues can be found at the registration website.

Football event announces lineup

The 1st & 10 Club is back for its 19th season with C Spire as the title sponsor. In addition to its speaker list, the club’s events will honor high school scholars and student-athletes at each meeting. Students are selected from high schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties for their outstanding performance on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

ESPN analyst and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will kick off the series of meetings at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug.13, at the Mobile Marriott. The rest of the schedule includes Steve Campbell, University of South Alabama head football coach, on Monday, Sept. 17; Mike Locksley, offensive coordinator for The University of Alabama, on Monday, Oct. 22; Mark May, ESPN analyst, former Pitt and NFL offensive guard, on Monday, Nov. 5; and Dollar General Bowl coaches, athletic directors and key players on Thursday, Dec. 6.

For more information on the C Spire 1st & 10 Club or Dollar General Bowl, visit DollarGeneralBowl.com or call 251-635-0011.

Future Jaguars earn softball honors

University of South Alabama incoming freshmen Victoria Ortiz and Kennedy Cronan have already gained attention. They are among 48 student-athletes from 38 high school softball programs named to 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American teams.

Ortiz, who lettered six seasons at Baker High, was a second-team All-America selection after batting .515 for the Honeybees last season. She recorded 26 doubles and 16 home runs and drove in 78 runs in 2018, while being successful in 15 of her 17 stolen base attempts. During her prep career, Ortiz accumulated 57 home runs and 295 RBIs at Baker.

Cronan, a third-team All-America selection, was one of two players from Daphne High School to make the list, joining fellow teammate Makenna Pierce. This past season with the Trojans, Cronan was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Class 6A first-team all-state squad and was chosen as the Hitter of the Year by the organization. As a senior, she hit .474 with 16 doubles, 25 homers and 62 RBIs for the Trojans.

Heitling receives postgrad award

Ashley Heitling, who starred for the University of South Alabama in both cross-country and track and field, has been selected as a Sun Belt Conference Postgraduate Award winner, for which she will receive a $3,000 graduate school scholarship.

In May, Heitling received her undergraduate degree in marketing, posting a 3.94 cumulative GPA while making the President’s List eight times and being named to the SBC’s List each of the last four years. She was second-team all-league in 2015 when she was part of the first Jaguar cross-country team to claim the SBC championship in more than 20 years. She also earned first-team all-Sun Belt accolades in 2016 and finished among the top 50 at the NCAA South Region Cross Country Championship each of those seasons.

Heitling garnered second-team all-conference recognition in outdoor track and field when her efforts helped the Jaguars to their first-ever outright title in 2016. She was part of the USA team that finished second at the SBC Indoor Championship this winter, its best result since 1999.

SHC softball to host Summer Showcase

Spring Hill College will host a softball showcase event at Murray Field on the SHC campus on Saturday, Aug. 18. Badger softball coaches will staff the event.

Female high school student-athletes are invited to take part. They will be exposed to college-level practice and competition. Athletes will be evaluated in all areas, including hitting, bunting, fielding, pitching, defense and base running.

The cost is $120 for the 9 a.m. to noon session. Athletes can register online at camps.jumpforward.com/SpringHillSoftball.