Newark Charter preparing to defend flag football state title
Newark Post - 9/22/2017
With success comes numbers.
Division II state football champion Woodbridge's roster doubled in size from last year's 35 to its current 70 players. Likewise, defending state champion Newark Charter welcomed more than 50 people to a recent tryout for its Special Olympics Unified flag football team.
"It was great having all those kids try out," senior quarterback Keegan Cahill said. "It's hard to believe how popular the sport has become in such a short time."
Unified flag football teams are made up of three Special Olympics athletes and two unified partners (peers without disabilities) on the field at the same time. It became an official Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association sport last year.
The Patriots hope to defend the school's first and only state championship. but they will have to do so without last year's head coach, Chris Muscara. Over the summer, Muscara accepted the athletic director position at Appoquinimink High School.
Taking over as head coach is Jake Schneider, who played football on the St. Mark's 2011 state championship team when Muscara was a position coach for the Spartans.
"I saw the Patriots win the Unified Flag Football Championship at the University of Delaware last year," said Schneider, who teaches physical education at the school. "After watching the inclusive nature, determination and flat out fun the athletes have in this league, I immediately wanted to get involved."
The Patriots open up defense of their title on Oct. 3 at home against Delcastle. The game begins at 3:30 p.m. on the field behind the high school. Other opponents include Glasgow, McKean and Mt. Pleasant.
"To say the returning players and I are excited for a shot to repeat is an understatement," Schneider added. "We have already been practicing since early September and the work ethic and motivation of everyone is sky high."
Twelve schools are taking part in the second official season of Unified flag football, an increase of four from the inaugural season.
"We are very excited about Coach Schneider taking the lead in our Unified Flag Football program," athletic director Greg Shivery said. "His energy and enthusiasm are perfect for the job. He has done is research and is very organized and prepared for this year."