Flag Football Tourney Coming to Doyle Field

November 9, 2018 GMT

LEOMINSTER -- Come Sunday, New England Patriots jerseys will be omnipresent at Doyle Field.

And they won’t just be appearing on the backs of those supporting the Pats during their 1 p.m. tilt against the Tennessee Titans. Instead, they’ll be worn by players taking part in the New England Patriots NFL FLAG Regional Tournament.

Reversible Patriots-themed white and blue jerseys will be worn by youth football players aiming to snag flags off the belts of the opposition on the gridiron Sunday, as 60 teams from all of New England -- and a couple from Michigan -- hope to claim a spot at the NFL Flag Championships at the Pro Bowl in Orlando in January.

“It’s really cool, to have this big event for flag football and to have it at Doyle Field,” Leominster Flag Football League (LFFL) president Jack Reed said Wednesday. “It’s kind of like the regionals for the Little League World Series, where the winner gets a place at Williamsport.

“It gets intense because of what’s on the line. These kids are playing for an all-expenses-paid trip to Orlando.”

Doyle Field is joining facilities such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, University of Phoenix Stadium and the New Orleans Saints practice facility, among others, in hosting a regional tournament. Winners from a dozen regional events will head to the national championships.

Eight teams from LFFL will compete in Sunday’s tournament, which will feature four divisions. The 9-10 Coed division will have 24 teams, while 20 will compete in the 11-12 Coed division. In addition, a dozen teams will contend for the 13-14 boys title and four teams will take part in the 13-14 girls grouping.

We’ll have action all day,” said Reed, noting that games start at 9 a.m. and run until 6 p.m. “The turf football field will be divided into four fields that are 25 yards wide and the upper soccer fields will have three flag football fields on it. And we’re adding two fields on the Doyle Field baseball field.”

In its fifth year, LFFL had 750 participants in a pair of leagues in 2018. Reed says 500 players took part in the spring season, with another 250 playing in the fall.

“Our teams take part in tournaments throughout the year to prepare for this,” Reed said. “We hope to get a team or two to qualify for the national tournament.”

In order to participate in the regional event, teams just have to fall under the NFL Flag Football banner and sign up, Reed said.

Leominster.TV will provide live coverage throughout the tournament, which is free to attend for the public.

Follow Nick Mallard on Twitter @n_mallard.