CRESTVIEW — On an unseasonably cool mid-April Thursday evening, a group of Crestview High School girls hit the field at Jack Foster Stadium to face a Fort Walton Beach team.
Both teams' players are pioneers of sorts as they participate in Okaloosa County's first season of flag football.
The Bulldog players come from a variety of sports ranging from volleyball and basketball to soccer and track.
Learning to play football has been an ongoing process this year, and Coach Thomas Grant is pleased with the team's progress.
"It's been very fun to coach these girls," he said. "They've been really fun to teach the game of football and flag football. The challenge has been the little things like knowing down and distance, and just executing football plays.
"They've gotten so much better from week one to week two and from week two to where they are now."
Jensis Coleman has been a fixture as the basketball team's point guard, so transitioning to playing the football team's quarterback was natural.
"It's the same thing, basically (playing quarterback and point guard)," she said. "You have to do the same stuff; talk and get the ball to the open person."
Recie Brown said football was a first for her as well, but it had a certain appeal.
"I had never played field sports so it was quite different for me to come and play this sport," she said. "I've never played it before so it's an opportunity for me to play.
"I have speed I can use to help my teammates."
Brown said her favorite parts of the game were running the ball and being there for her teammates. The hardest part is keeping her head in the game and not having letdowns.
Crestview beat Fort Walton Beach 7-6 Thursday.
Brown scored the game-tying touchdown with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter. Megan Martin scored the extra point on a pass from Coleman.
"I'm surprised at how competitive these girls are and how tough they are," Grant said. "They've done a very good job and they compete at a very high level."
The Bulldogs close out the season at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Choctawhatchee.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.