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Elk Grove Citizen

Ford to coach his alma mater’s first flag football team

Feb 08, 2024 09:02PM ● By John Hull, Citizen Sports Editor

Aiden Ford, left, who is a social science teacher at Monterey Trail, will be the Mustangs' first flag football coach when the sport for girls will debut this fall.

Elk Grove (MPG) – Flag football for girls will be a new high school sport for all Elk Grove Unified schools this fall. Last week Monterey Trail announced they have dipped into their pool of outstanding alumni who played tackle football for the Mustangs for its first flag football coach and hired Aiden Ford.

Ford is in his third year as a social science teacher at Monterey Trail and has been an assistant coach under the school’s long-time football mentor, T.J. Ewing.

Ford was a wide receiver/outside linebacker for the Mustangs, played on the 2010 Monterey Trail team that lost to Arik Armstead, Cody Demps, Cole Hikutini and the Pleasant Grove Eagles in the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section championship game. He went to Alabama A&M on a golf scholarship, and after returning to Monterey Trail began coaching the tennis team. He says he’ll continue coaching the boys in the spring.

Ford is really looking forward to this new coaching opportunity, saying that the girls football program will run parallel to the successful boys program.

“We want to teach the girls the same things we teach the boys; same values, same culture,” Ford said. “It’s a way to give back and it’s a way to begin the program, expand it and make it a little bit better. It’s a great challenge.”

Mustang football is known for running the veer offensively, yet with the rules of flag football which don’t allow for blocking, it may be difficult to be the female version of “three-yards and a cloud of recycled tire bits” football.

“I may be a little hardheaded and try to run the veer,” Ford quipped. “Part of the reason we run the veer is that Coach Ewing is really great at understanding the abilities of high school athletes. So, when it comes to flag football, I’ll be making similar decisions. I love the veer and the simplicity of that type of football. I want to run what will work best for our team.”

Ford says early on there is a good amount of interest from the female athletes at Monterey Trail to play flag football. He says he particularly will be talking to the track athletes about playing this fall.

“We’ve got a lot of speed in those track runners, so we’ll be using that on pitches, short passes,” Ford said. “I think those will be really successful plays for us.”

One big difference between the boys and the girls is that flag football can have as many as 27 games per season. This past fall, the first season for the sport in the Sac-Joaquin Section, there were about 60 schools which fielded flag football. Those schools scheduled about two to three games a week and usually on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“It’s easier on the body because there is so much less collisions so you can get in more games, more competition,” Ford said. “I think that’s awesome for the school because there will be more sporting events for the kids to go to.”

Being the trailblazer for the sport at Monterey Trail, Ford is much like others around Elk Grove Unified who are coaching flag football in season one; they really don’t know what to expect.

“I’m extremely excited,” he said. “For me it is something different, something a little out of wheelhouse. For this being the first time of doing it, there’s a lot of new stuff so I don’t think we have a clear picture of how it will go, but I think we’re all excited about making it the best we can make it.”