HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota High School football playoffs start next week, but there’s another league that just wrapped up its season today crowning several champions.

Since 2007, young athletes in the Harrisburg School District have been tackling a different kind of football; flag football.

“Tackle is a little rougher than flag, because in flag you don’t really have any physical contact,” 6th grader Kasen Meyer said.

League organizers say flag football keeps kids safe while learning skills and playing the game.

“Some parents don’t want their kids to play tackle football right away, and this is a great alternative for them to learn football and I think that’s the success we are seeing,” Kevin Meyer said.

That’s especially important for the younger kids.

“The kids aren’t taking the hits and it’s a way for them to learn the fundamentals of the game, how to play smarter and safer,” Kut N Kill coach Kevin Meyer said.

“There’s no real injuries in this, some minor bruises and stuff but that’s about it,” Kasen Meyer said.

“You don’t want to get hurt like the first game, then you’re out for the season; in flag you really don’t get hurt, so you get to play all your games,” linebacker Hudson Moe said.

All the coaches are volunteers, who enlisted the help of some of the high school football players to help, who now have some new fans.

“Oh yeah, definitely, when we come walking out of the tunnel over there, we got some new kids giving us high fives and yelling our names,” senior linebacker Gavin Moe said.

The game of Flag football is gaining ground fast, faster than some of the running backs.

When it first started, there were only 60 players in the league, now it has well over 400, and that’s a sign of success on any scoreboard.

To learn more about the league and a few others in the Sioux Falls area and how to sign up, we listed the websites below.

Harrisburg Flag Football

South Dakota FCA Flag Football

Areas of Flag Football

Sioux Falls and Brandon Flag Football