St. Mary’s youth football program is celebrating after its indoor flag football teams won their championships last month.

The program’s 8-year-old, 10-year-old and 12-year-old flag football teams each won first-place medals in their age brackets at the MAC Athletic Complex in Crystal Lake the weekend of May 19. The 8-year-old and 10-year-old teams went undefeated on the season.

This was the first year St. Mary’s youth football has fielded indoor flag football teams.

“We were doing so well [another team] put our 8-year-olds up against their 10-year-olds, and we beat them 32-9,” said U8 head coach Joel Jackson.

St. Mary’s football program was established in 1926 and is the largest and oldest of its kind in Woodstock. In addition to its tackle football program, year-round training includes Friday night skills training, strength training, speed and agility training and now a 6-on-6 indoor flag football league.

The indoor flag football league provides the opportunity to compete against neighboring schools and towns different from the teams St. Mary usually plays in the Northern Illinois Football Conference. The indoor league not only keeps players active and conditioned but promotes camaraderie, Jackson said.

“It also helps with timing, to make split-second decisions at a higher rate of speed,” said Jackson.

St. Mary is the only youth program in the state to invest in the ProTech Safety Helmet Program, according to team leaders. The ProTech is a shell that is an “add-on” to new or used helmets.

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