Jasper hosts sectional for Unified Flag Football

From local sources

JASPER — Four teams will contend for a sectional championship at 10 a.m. Saturday when Jasper hosts postseason play for Unified Flag Football.

Jasper will play Loogootee, while Floyd Central faces off against Bedford North Lawrence at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium. The winners will then play each other, with the sectional winner advancing to regional play.

Thirty-seven teams — 12 more than in last year’s inaugural season — have entered this year’s state tournament field, and are spread across eight sectionals. The eight teams that emerge as sectional champions will move on to one of two regionals on Oct. 12, with the two remaining teams advancing to the state championship game on Oct. 19 at the Grand Park Sports Event Center in Westfield.

Unified Sports enables persons with and without intellectual disabilities to participate on the same team for sports training and competition as part of the “Champions Together” partnership between the IHSAA and Special Olympics Indiana.

Unified Flag Football, played on a field that is 25 yards wide and 40 yards long, is five-on-five with three athletes and two unified partners per side. Teams play two 20-minute halves with a touchdown worth six points and an extra point from the 5 yard line worth one point or two points for a successful play from the 10 yard line. Two points is also scored for a safety.

Starting on its 5 yard line, a team has four plays to cross midfield, then an additional four plays to score a touchdown. Failure to cross midfield or score a touchdown in the prescribed number of plays results in a change of possession starting at the opposing team’s own 5 yard line.

Unified Flag Football is one of 22 sports sponsored by the IHSAA, and one of two co-ed sports along with Unified Track and Field which debuted in 2014.