Burlington set to raise – or lower – the flags in football

The Ontario Football Alliance and the Burlington Minor Football Association are set to host the 2012 Flag Football National Championships this weekend (July 28- 30) at Oakville’s Appleby College.

Approximately 200 participants, from six provinces in both male and female under-16 (U16) and under-18 (U18) age divisions will compete as provincial champions square off for a chance to be crowned national champion.

Québec is looking to defend a pair of female titles in both the U16 and U18 divisions while Nova Scotia is the defending U18 male division champion. The U16 male division will see a new champion as team British Columbia is not be participating.

The annual event returns to Ontario for the second time in three years after being successfully hosted in Halifax by Football Nova Scotia last July. Ottawa was host in 2010 to coincide with the 2010 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Flag Football World Championships.

Games begin Saturday morning while the title games take place Monday afternoon. In addition, this year’s four finals will be streamed live online. On Monday, visit www.footballcanada.com for details regarding the webstreaming.

Flag football is a 5-on-5 non-contact brand of football which requires cloth flags to be worn at player’s sides. Offensive players are down at the point in which one flag is lifted from their side by a defensive counterpart. The game is played on a 70 by 25 (U18) or 60 by 25 (U16) yard playing surface which includes 10 yard end zones. The offense begins at its own 5 yard line and has 3 downs to reach midfield and another three to score a touchdown. The offense cannot run the ball within 5 yards of the end zone and no kicking or punting is required as extra points are contested through the air.