By Zach Shugan
ROSWELL, Ga. — The first season for Roswell flag football ended on a sour note, but there were plenty of sweet moments for the Hornets throughout the year.
From taking home their first area title to winning their first playoff game, this year’s group etched itself in the school history books more than once.
After the Hornets won 27-0 over Paulding County in the first round, their season to remember ended Tuesday with a 6-0 loss to Grayson in the second round of the 7A state playoffs.
“We started in June and half the girls couldn’t even catch the ball and didn’t really know the rules of football,” Roswell head coach Emily Hoza said. “Now we’re at a point where every girl can catch the ball. They all the know the rules. They’re eager to play … They’ve shown a lot of improvement. They should be proud tonight.”
The Hornets stomped Paulding County in the first round behind a dominant performance from Katie Northenor. The 7A-Area 3 offensive player of the year carried the ball five times for 173 yards and three touchdowns, and she threw a 35-yard touchdown to Emma McDonald.
“[Northenor] knows the field and she sees the gaps is great with her footwork,” Hoza said. “That’s how she gets from coast to coast. She’s just a speedy player.”
The second-round game against Grayson started less than 10 minutes after the conclusion of Roswell’s win over Paulding County. Earlier in the night, the Rams won 13-6 over Meadowcreek in the first round, and then they watched Roswell vs Paulding County from the bleachers.
The Hornets and Rams engaged in a defensive battle, with neither team scoring in the first half. Grayson broke through with a 1-yard touchdown run in the second half and kept the Hornets out of their end zone for the rest of the night to win 6-0.
Grayson will take on Blessed Trinity in the quarterfinals Thursday, while Roswell awaits a new season and another chance to take the field. In the meantime, Hoza expects her team to continue growing together both on and off the field.
“The girls, they have a bond that’s unlike any other I’ve seen with a team. I know they’re going to hang out and do their thing until the summer when I get them all together and we do some conditioning. They’re not going to stop.”