The inaugural girls flag football season for Proviso East came to an end the same way that it began; with an overwhelming loss to Willowbrook. But in between those two losses the Pirates (5-2) won five straight games and finished second in the first season of girls flag football in the West Suburban Conference. On Friday night the Pirates fell to unbeaten Willowbrook 32-0 in the first ever West Suburban Conference championship game. That came immediately after the Pirates defeated Oak Park and River Forest High School 14-8 in a semifinal game to advance to the championship game which was held at Oak Park Stadium.
“We just weren’t good enough,” said Proviso East coach Diana Johnson after losing to Willowbrook.
Johnson said she thought her team was a bit intimidated by Willowbrook which started the game with strong armed quarterback Rimon Kari completing her first seven passes. The Pirates could not stop Kari and the rest of the Warriors as Willowbrook jumped out to a 26-0 halftime team.
“My girls just got afraid of playing them,” Johnson said.
Willowbrook (7-0) has dominated every team it has played this season allowing only one touchdown in its seven games. On Oct. 29 Willowbrook will play the champions of the Chicago Public League and a team from a Rockford League in playoffs held at the Chicago Bears training facility at Lake Forest.
Johnson was emotional after the game, but was also looking ahead to next year.
“We had a goal, we didn’t get there, but we’re coming back next year,” Johnson said. “I feel real good about finishing second. People didn’t think we were going to finish second. They had counted us out.”
In the semifinal win over Oak Park (4-3) the Pirates scored the decisive touchdown on a long pass from Kaylin Garrett to Peace Thompson with seven minutes left in the first half in a game played on a field hockey field without yard lines. That score proved decisive as the Proviso East defense shut out Oak Park in the second half stopping the Huskies about 20 yards short of the goal line on the game’s final play.
Forest Park resident Maritza Saenz was a star for the Pirates all season splitting time at quarterback and wide receiver and also playing defense.
This was first season of girls flag football. Teams from Willowbrook, Proviso East, Proviso West, Oak Park, Morton East and Morton West played each other in the West Suburban Conference. The league was sponsored in part by the Chicago Bears.