Bishop Foley girls flag football star to help announce Lions' first round pick

Bishop Foley Catholic High School's inaugural girls flag football team is pictured in 2022. Ayla Barnes (front-row left), a senior on this year's team, will help announce the Detroit Lions' first-round pick during this year's NFL Draft in downtown Detroit. The team's coach, Stephanie Barnes, is pictured at right. (Photos courtesy of Bishop Foley Catholic High School)

Madison Heights Catholic school standout Ayla Barnes to help represent local athletes in this year's NFL Draft festivities in Detroit

MADISON HEIGHTS — Bishop Foley Catholic High School is set to make history as senior Ayla Barnes prepares to take the spotlight alongside the Detroit Lions in announcing their first-round draft pick for the NFL Draft this week. Barnes, a standout member of Bishop Foley's girls flag football team, represents not only her school but also the burgeoning growth of girls' flag football in Michigan.

Barnes is one of several local high school students who will be taking part in festivities surrounding the NFL Draft, which is taking place this year in Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit from April 25-27.

“I’m so grateful that I get to have this opportunity to bring publicity and new eyes to girls flag football,” Barnes said.

Barnes' journey to the NFL Draft stage is a testament to the rapid expansion of girls' flag football, with Bishop Foley playing a pivotal role as one of only four founding schools in the Michigan Girls Flag Football League. Under the leadership of then-head varsity football coach Brian Barnes in 2022, Bishop Foley initiated its girls flag football team, now led by Stephanie Barnes, continuing to pave the way for innovative athletic opportunities.

Bishop Foley's girls flag football team competes last year at Ford Field.
Bishop Foley's girls flag football team competes last year at Ford Field.

"The flag football team is a perfect example of the distinctive opportunities afforded at BFC; our extracurricular and athletic offerings are unique and innovative, pioneering a bright future for our current Ventures and generations to come," said Trevor Tyle, Bishop Foley admissions director.

Bishop Foley also prioritizes faith-based initiatives, with its Catholic Athletes for Christ (Cathletes) chapter leading the charge. As the only school in the Archdiocese of Detroit with a Catholic Athletes for Christ chapter, Bishop Foley fosters a community of servant leaders who integrate faith with sportsmanship.

The Bishop Foley girls flag football team has begun their third season in a league of growing interest; 24 schools have teams participating in the spring 2024 season. Ford Field will once again host games for the league on May 11 and May 19.

“Our boys got to play at Ford Field for the Prep Bowl twice, so I love that our girls got to have the same opportunity,” Tyle said. “We’re co-ed, so I think being able to send a strong message that our male and female students have the same opportunities is really important — not only for sports, or during their time in high school, but beyond that realm as well.”

As Bishop Foley continues to empower students on their academic and athletic journeys, it remains committed to fostering growth, opportunity, and success both on and off the field. To learn more about BFC and its initiatives, visit

This news release was provided by Bishop Foley Catholic High School.


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