MacArthur was essentially an expansion team during the 2023 Nassau County flag football season but played like champions.
And the Generals almost became the champs.
In MacArthur’s first year in the recently formed girls flag football league that contains 18 Nassau teams, the Generals posted a 16-2 record and made the county championship game.
It ended in a 7-6 loss to Plainedge but not before MacArthur memories were made in its historic inaugural year.
The squad was made up of 37 players – many from other sports teams. Some that hadn’t even participated in a varsity sport. MacArthur weaved a 16-game winning streak, outscoring its opponents 276-100.
“They took to it tremendously,” said first-year coach Steve Fazzolari, the 17-year defensive coordinator of the school’s football team. “The reaction to our success with on-field celebrations - hugs, smiles ear to ear - all the way to the tears when we lost in the Finals. They took this and ran with it as if they played the sport forever.’’
The Generals’ best player was quarterback/linebacker Lexie Thompson, the superstar goalie for the powerhouse soccer team in the fall who has committed to Buffalo. She passed for 2,242 yards and 36 touchdowns in this 7-on-7 sport. She also was defensive demon at linebacker with 11 interceptions and 69 flagpoles (tackles).
“She approached this game of flag football like it was here No. 1 sport,’’ Fazzolari said. “But they all took to it.’’
The flag football team had to share players with other spring sports and everyone accepted the new order. On the roster were four players from the softball squad, one from badminton and a golfer. There were also fall-sport athletes from the soccer, cross country and basketball teams.
“It was a special group of girls from all walks of the school,’’ Fazzolari said. “We had star athletes, musicians, dancers, scholars. They all came together and became a team and cared so much about each other. It translated to success on the field.’’
Senior Lauren Paulich never played a sport but was on the dance team. She became a two-way flag star, earning All-County Honorable Mention as wide receiver and defensive lineman.
Emma Hoesten, a golfer, was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, racking up 94 flag poles. Thompson and Ava Anguili tied for the club lead with 11 interceptions.
In the championship game, the Generals’ lone score was on a Thompson “Pick-6’’ but the conversion failed. Plainview won the title when it rallied to score a touchdown and kicked in the extra point.
While the offense fizzled in the title game, it sang the rest of the season. Junior Sara Kealey was a key cog with 677 reception yards and 14 touchdowns.
Hailey Metzger caught passes for 466 yards with six touchdowns. On defense, Jovi Bennett led the team in sacks with 10 and showed leadership in the mostly passing sport.
Over a year ago, Fazzolari attended his son’s Massapequa lacrosse practice and saw girls on a field with the pigskin. He was informed a flag football league had started up in 2021-22. Fazzolari went to his school administrators and got the green light to form a club for 2023.
“We didn’t base our success on the record,’’ Fazzolari. said. “Our motto was: “If I ask you at end of the year would you do it again and you say yes, it’s successful.’’