Scott Middle School flag football: “Go get Bailey”

Story by Max Olson, NewsNetNebraska

Bailey’s ready to go. A few teammates sport plaid cargo shorts and trendy tees. Bailey went with his gray Michael Jordan T-shirt and black basketball shorts.

The Scott Middle School seventh-grader is rail-thin, with average height and a dark brown mop top that nearly touches his shoulders. He’s one of only 13 kids who showed up the first day of practice for the Stars’ flag football team.

The first task of the day: Run a lap around the perimeter of the school. Bailey finishes first in the half-mile race. Many teammates jog.

Next up, receiving drills. Bailey accelerates off the line of scrimmage. He catches the overinflated rubber football with his hands, not his chest. He tosses crisp spirals back to head coach Chris Schmidt and sprints back in line.

“Good throw, Bailey,” Schmidt barks. Bailey’s getting noticed.

After the drill, the Scott players run back inside the school gym to sip from the water fountain. Their coaches gather and trade observations. Schmidt grins.

“We won’t win a single game this year,” he said. “I’m calling it right now.”

After some passing and snapping drills, Schmidt starts an exercise he calls “sharks and minnows,” in an attempt to practice flag-pulling.

Bailey’s the first kid to strap his flag belt on, and his flags are the hardest to get off. He baffles his teammates in the first two rounds, but he needs no fancy spins or jukes – just pure speed.

“Go get Bailey!” a frantic defender yells as the third round begins. Bailey cuts left to avoid the first tackler and shoots upfield.

There’s one defender to beat. Bailey hesitates and tries to turn right. The defender holds steady and throws himself at Bailey’s flags. The two young players bang knees, and Bailey grabs his as he crumples to the ground.

A worried Schmidt sprints over to help Bailey up. The defender puts his head down and grumbles an apology.

No need. Bailey stands up. He chomps on his spearmint gum and shrugs his shoulders. He’s OK. Bailey nabs the flag of one rusher in the final round, and then practice is over.

Schmidt huddles his new team and urges them to get their friends to join the Stars. Then he asks who will step up and lead the team in its end-of-practice chant.


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