Girl Power! Irvington HS flag football team captures state championship

The Irvington girls flag football team celebrates after winning the state playoff championship. Standing in the center, wearing the blue cap, is head coach Kyle Steele.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Football is definitely king in Irvington.

First, the Irvington High School football team completed a magnificent season by capturing both the state sectional and regional championships in December.

Now, the girls can say they are state champions, too.

The IHS girls flag football team, under head coach Kyle Steele, capped an undefeated season with a convincing 33-6 win over Hawthorne to capture the state playoff championship on Saturday, June 4, at the New York Jets practice facility in Florham Park.

For Irvington, it was sweet redemption. Last year, in the first season for girls flag football in the state, Irvington lost to Passaic County Tech in the state championship game held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Irvington, which won the Super Football Conference–Southern Division regular season title this spring, hosted the divisional playoffs. In the semifinals on Wednesday, June 1, Irvington defeated Ramapo, 34-6, and Wayne Valley defeated Union City, 33-12. Irvington and Wayne Valley met in the divisional final later that night. With 17:13 left in the first half in a scoreless affair, the game was suspended due to lightning. The game resumed on Friday, June 3, and Irvington prevailed 31-13.

The next day at the Jets practice facility, Irvington won a close 24-21 decision against Ridgewood, the SFC–North Division playoff champion, to advance to the state championship later that afternoon against Hawthorne, the New Jersey Interscholastic Conference champion, which defeated Hillside, the Big Central Conference champion, in the other semifinal earlier in the day.

Irvington dominated Hawthorne, to complete the championship and finish the season with a 12-0-1 record.

Steele was ecstatic for his team.

“It’s pretty good!” said Steele in an email to the Irvington Herald. “Our goal the second we lost last year was to come back and win it all. I’m so proud of our girls, who worked all year to accomplish this goal. When the season started, from day 1, we knew we wanted to win a state championship, and we wanted to win every game we played. Winning a state championship alone is enough motivation … but add on losing in the previous year’s game and our boys winning the state championship … added all of the extra motivation needed for our team! 

“Now, just like our boys, we have the goal of winning back-to-back!”

Notes: Steele, a 1996 IHS graduate, has been the longtime head coach of the IHS wrestling team. This past winter, he was named the District 13 Coach of the Year and the Region 4 Coach of the Year during the wrestling season.

Steele also is the president of the Irvington Golden Knights youth football and cheerleading program and is one of the coaches in the program.

Here is the IHS girls flag football team’s roster.

Seniors:

  • Samaia Dixon.
  • Jaribel “JellyBean” Caceres.

Juniors:

  • Chanel Hayes.
  • Heaven Maxwell.
  • Woodjina Servius.
  • Zalayah Henry.
  • Samiya Hill.
  • Izhanay Taylor.
  • Faith Phillips.
  • Destiny Reid.
  • Sajada Green.
  • Janiyah Settles.

Sophomores:

  • Janasia Wilson.
  • Kayle Burnett.
  • Dynasia Williams.
  • Brianna Hertilien.
  • Serenity Rodriguez-Daves.
  • Kalima Stewart.
  • Simari Lipscomb.

Assistant coaches:

  • Lawrence Bender.
  • Charles Mickens.
  • Christie Tripp.

Photo Courtesy of John Taylor/IHS athletic director.

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