Local elementary schools are duking it out on the gridiron today to see who has the area's best co-ed flag football team.
The top eight teams are competing at the Simcoe County District School Board Flag Football Area Championships at the West Orillia Sports Complex today. The top two teams from today's event will qualify for the Simcoe County championships next week.
There are eight more local teams playing in a consolation bracket today at the Ramara Centre.
Anders Hagman, the convener of the event, says the atmosphere at both sites today is "amazing."
"There are a number of parents and family members out to cheer on the students," he said. "Teammates are cheering each other on too, it's incredible."
Hagman says the co-ed sport offers a unique experience for all students.
"Other than rugby, it's the only sport that's co-ed," he said. "It's also the first team sport on the calendar for intermediate kids."
Each school plays three weeks of regular season action starting in September before it all culminates with the today's Area Championships.
"The opportunity to have all of the kids together on a beautiful day like today is what we want," Hagman said.
Hagman says football is one of the ultimate team sports, which is what makes it great for elementary school students.
"One person isn't going to win or lose a game," he said. "You need everybody working together to achieve."
Through football, Hagman says students learn to rely on each other, trust each other, and to work together.
Brody Clarke, a Grade 7 student from Monsignor Lee Catholic School, was playing quarterback for the Crusaders on Tuesday morning.
"Playing football with my friends has been fun this year," he said. "It's taught me a lot about sportsmanship."
Clarke says competing at the Area Championships has been one of the highlights of his time in elementary school.
"It's been fun seeing my friends from other schools," he said. "It's a good way to make new friends, too."
Dawson Hand, a Grade 8 student from Severn Shores Public School, was playing middle linebacker for the Storm today.
"Playing flag football has given me a lot of motivation to get better a sports," he said. "I maybe want to do football as a career now."
Hand says sportsmanship and a good attitude is the key to winning football games.
"If you are always down you will never win," he said. "You have to be positive and motivated as a team."
The Area Championship game takes place today at 4 p.m. Spectators are welcome at the West Orillia Sports Complex.