It sounds like a Hollywood ending: a group of kids, new to the sport, played a tournament for the first time. They were up against their rivals for the chance to travel halfway across the country.
The relatively inexperienced football team held its opponent scoreless before going into overtime.
It all came down to one last pass.
“When that ball went up the air, nobody said a word,” recalled Tim DeJoseph.
But this was in Jersey City, not California. DeJoseph is the coach of Pink Dynamite, a new flag football team for girls ages 8 to 14.
Based in Bristol, the team is named in honor of Debbie Karantinalli, DeJoseph’s mother, who is head of the league and a breast cancer survivor.
The girls on the team, who chose the name, were mostly recruited by assistant coach Dwayne McCoy. A flag football league player for years, he started the team with his daughter, who had played before, and members of her basketball team.
“It was something I saw that I thought they’d be able to do,” said McCoy. “I knew they were athletes, and watching them play together as a team, it’d be easier than trying to get them to jell.”
There were some challenges, like teaching them the rules and working on offense. But, their inexperience was sometimes a blessing in disguise.
“It was easier because they were blank slates. They hadn’t been through five or six coaches already,” explained DeJoseph.
Their hard work paid off at the regional tournament in New Jersey in November, when eight teams competed for the chance to play at a national level in Dallas. But the last game pitted them against North Penn, whose quarterback was a player McCoy once tried to recruit for his team.
“It was back and forth, back and forth the whole game,” recalled McCoy.
In flag football, overtime rules dictate that each team gets the chance to make their way down the field. If no one scored, whichever team gained the most yards would win.
But not everyone on Pink Dynamite — new to the game this year — realized that.
“Our quarterback dropped back on [our last play] and we lost yardage. They didn’t realize the consequence,” said McCoy.
By North Penn’s last play, the Pink Dynamites were still leading in yardage. Then, the quarterback threw a long pass to a receiver way down field.
“As soon as I saw it drop, I just thought, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to Dallas,’ ” McCoy recalled.
Now, the team is excited for their trip — and the enthusiasm is contagious.
“We’ve had a plethora of girls interested in coming out. It’s just been overwhelming,” said McCoy. “We have a promising future to keep this going for years to come.”
But for now, that enthusiasm is helping the team get to Dallas. They’re fundraising to pay expenses, and are doing a lot of it through GoFundMe, an online crowdsourcing platform.
“This is the first time I’ve done fundraising [online],” said McCoy. “I’m pleased — we’ve gotten donations from people we don’t even know.”
Contributions have even come from all the way across the Atlantic Ocean after McCoy reached out to an old colleague who now lives in England.
“We keep in touch, and he’s going to tell his coworkers about it, too. I told the girls they’re international now, and the U.K. is behind them,” he laughed.
For information, visit www.gofundme.com/5j5oxg