Flag football becomes more popular

Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice earns league title

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— Could Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice be good at flag football? Go ask Mike Diemer.

"Usually we're good, but this was the best team I've played with," he said.

Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice picked up the Steamboat Springs Parks and Rec flag football league title on Nov. 6, capping off a 9-0 season.

The last team to go undefeated was the Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice team in 1999.

"They have always been a contender," Parks and Rec Sports Coordinator Christina Freeman said.

This despite the fact team members get one year older with each season. Diemer, the owner of Johnny B. Good's, likes to joke about the team's average age of 35.

"You play together for 10 years and good things will happen," he said.

Actually, the age thing is a little deceiving, because more years together means more experience. Diemer said the core group of his team has been together for about eight flag football seasons. They don't even need to huddle on offense if they don't want to.

Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice defeated the Yampa Valley Dukes in the championship game, 26-0. The Yampa Valley team, comprised of players from Hayden and Craig, has fallen to Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice in the playoffs for three straight years.

"We've beaten them a couple times in the regular season," Dukes member Todd Camilletti said. "They have our number during the playoffs."

Camilletti said the score was atypical of a usual Dukes game. In other words, they aren't shut out often.

Bryan Sippel, a member of the Johnny B. Good's/Go Ask Alice team, said his teammates played great defense at the right times. The Dukes actually took the first play of the game down to their opponent's 3-yard line, but Johnny B.'s held to prevent a touchdown and ended up in the lead 18-0 at the half before tacking on eight additional points in the second.

"And then we threw a party," Sippel said.

The Parks and Rec could be throwing one of their own. Over the years, Freeman said the league has grown in popularity with a steady eight to 10 teams competing in the last several seasons.

An increase in participation, along with teams' requests, has allowed for longer seasons. This year, the final two games were played in the snow at Ski Town fields.

"It's a lot of fun to play snow football," Diemer said.

The competitive edge has remained the same, but the league has gotten less physical, as the players remind each other that many have jobs, kids and ski passes they want to use during the winter.

"It used to be real unorganized and really pretty dangerous," Diemer said. "There were a lot of guys getting hurt. It's really come a long way. It's really one of the better leagues in town."

Freeman has a lot to do with that. She understands the passion many have for football, so the games are played on Wednesday nights, far away from college football Saturday, NFL Sunday and Monday Night Football.

"Winning this is like winning the Northwest Colorado Super Bowl," she said.

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