SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the Calvary Day varsity football team huddled to wrap up its practice Monday evening, another set of football stars got ready to take the field. The Calvary Day flag football team, heading into its second year of existence, held tryouts before the fall season kicks off in just a few weeks.

“We are all super excited,” senior Mahkayla Premo said. “We’ve been waiting forever — the summer took forever, so now we are ready.”

Fresh off a state championship in its inaugural season, Calvary Day is determined to defend its title this year.

“Expectations are pretty high. Coming in and being the first-ever state champ is already big in itself,” Premo explained. “That’s totally fine for us because we do not crumble of fall short of expectations. We are going to rise to it. We have a lot of stuff in our back pocket.”

One of those secret weapons may be Abby Walsh — a freshman with hopes of making the team. Walsh said the team got on her radar late last year as the Cavaliers made their memorable run in the GHSA flag football state playoffs.

“I didn’t even know they had one last year until they said the won and, now, it’s crazy how many come out and try to see ‘maybe this is my sport, maybe I’d love to play this sport,'” Walsh added.

When Calvary Day held a ceremony in May to hand out state championship rings, dozens of girls showed up for the interest meeting that followed. It appears that most of them showed up for Monday’s tryout as well.

“Last year it was ‘Hey, let’s try it out, see how much fun it is,'” coach Nick Grassi explained. “Well, things are a little different this year. Everyone wants to be a part of it.”

Last year, the Cavaliers didn’t need to hold tryouts. Any girl interested the team would be added to the roster. Now, 43 girls are trying out for less than 30 spots; a by-product of Calvary Day’s instant success on the gridiron.

“The plan has always been to get people interested,” Premo said. “I was still surprised at how many people showed up. I didn’t expect that many.”

They’ve already shown the state of Georgia that girls can play football. Now, these girls are trying to prove this sport has staying power in the Coastal Empire.

“I hope to be a part of something great and also go win another state championship,” Walsh said with a smile. “Mostly, being a part of a great team with coaches like this is just so fun.”