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A History of Girls Playing Tackle Football

This section was last updated on January 10, 2004.


Luverne "Toad" Wise (c. 1923-1983) kicked six extra points for the Escambia County (Alabama) High School football team.


In Indiana, Agnes Risner of New Castle High School had two point-after-touchdown attempts for the football team. Unfortunately, she missed them both. (See Caballero, Paula. "A Battle Won: In the war of the sexes, girls' competing against boys is becoming more accepted and less confrontational." Fort Worth Star-Telegram. July 9, 1996; Sports: 1.)


In the post World War II era, the first girl known to have played high school football was Frankie Groves of Stinnett High School in Texas. Her showcase game was versus Groom High School in November 1947. Soon after the game, Texas' high school sports ruling body formally banned girls from playing high school football--a ban that would not be lifted until 1993.


The Florida High School Activities Association changed its rules to allow girls to compete in predominantly male sports. A seventeen-year-old girl named Jan Coehlo of Florida was allowed to try out for her high school's football team, but she quit after one practice. Ms. Coehlo, who stood six-feet tall and weighed 157 lbs., sought to be a quarterback


Title IX passed.

Post Title IX, these were among the first girls to try out for and/or win spots on high school, junior high school and little league tackle football teams:

Kim Houlton and Jan Pendleton, both eight years old, became the first modern-day girls to play organized football in the state of Alabama when they joined the Bee League of the Montgomery YMCA's youth football program. Jan played at end and linebacker, while Kim played guard. (From New York Times January 1, 1973: 7)


In 1973, Dugan Wiess was a backup place-kicker for Walton High in Defuniak Springs, FL. She wrote about her experiences in a 1974 Seventeen magazine article.

March 1973: Janet Youngholm, a sophomore at Princeton University, campaigned for women to be allowed to try out for the men's lightweight football club, which was for players weighing less than 150 pounds.

In 1973, California passed a rule making it possible for girls to play with boys on high school athletic teams. That year two fourteen-year-old girls decided to try out for their school's junior varsity football teams: Diane Thompson (5', 90 lbs.) of Yuba City, CA as a split end for Live Oak High School and Toni Ihler (5'4", 130 lbs.) as a lineman at Portola High School. (See "Now the lineperson comes to football," by Jill Gerston. New York Times. Sept. 2, 1973; sec. 5: 3) Here is some additional information: Toni Ihler played both offensive and defensive guard on the Portola High junior varsity (Portola's in Plumas Co.) and won her letter. (Source: Caen, Herb. "From Here to Absurdity." San Francisco Chronicle. November 12, 1985: 37.)

Offensive guards Carol and Delores Darrin, along with aspiring running back Kathy Tosland of Grays Harbor County, Washington, tried out for and won spots on the Wishkah Valley High School football team. Since there were only twelve boys on the Wishkah Valley High team originally, the Darrins wanted to inspire other boys to go out for football. After participating in several full contact practices, the Darrins and Miss Tosland were barred from playing in any games by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The Darrins filed a suit on September 21, 1973 seeking a restraining order that would allow them to play football, but the court ruled against them. In 1975, after two years of court battles, the WIAA rule that barred the Darrins from playing high school football was finally overturned, but the Darrins never got to play a regular season football game for Wishkah Valley High.




Twelve-year-old Cynthia Whipple of Rochester, NY, made her Pop Warner debut playing defensive tackle. She was believed to be the only girl playing Pop Warner football in the United States that year.

In Montgomery County, PA, however, ten-year old Suzanne "Suzy" Kolber won a spot on a little league football team, but quit due to strong opposition from parents and other adults.

Eight-year-old Suzette Panaggio of Chantilly, Virginia, joined the Greenbriar Wildcats of Fairfax County's "Anklebiters" League, thus becoming the first Washington, DC area girl to officially be allowed to play in a boys' contact sports league. However, according to the Washington Post, Anklebiters' League president Ted Lane remembered that a girl played at middle linebacker for a Springfield 90-pound football league team for half a season. ("Va. Girl, 8, To Play Football With Boys." Washington Post. July 25, 1974)


Brenda Hand of Sarasota, FL played football for a school team. Sarasota Journal photographer Ron Jett's pictures of her in practice are in the book Best Sports Stories of 1975, page 273.

Sally Gutierrez became the first girl to play high school football in New Mexico when she suited up for Quemado High School. Ms. Gutierrez, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 135 pounds, was a backup guard. The New Mexico Activities Association initially barred Ms. Gutierrez from playing, citing a state regulation. However, Ms. Gutierrez filed suit to get that regulation overturned, and Santa Fe District Court Judge Thomas Donnelly issued a restraining order allowing her to play in the season's remaining games.

Vinca Williams of the NWFL's Oklahoma City Dolls was a kicker and second team lineman on the Carl Albert High School (Midwest City, OK) junior varsity squad. She may have been the first girl in Oklahoma to play high school football.

Lisa Phipps became the first girl in Lincoln, Nebraska to ever play in that city's "Midget" league tackle football program. (AP Oct. 19, 1997)


Twelve-year-old Tina Muscare of Chicago played for a little league football team called the Kosciuszko Park Browns (team colors: green [!] and white). In a game played on Oct. 16, 1976 (versus the Davis Square Colts), Tina sacked the quarterback for a five-yard loss. Originally the Chicago Park District tried to bar Tina from playing football, claiming that adolescent boys are too rough for girls.



There were two girls playing football at the secondary school level in the state of Massachusetts:

Jackie Morgan, an eighth-grader from Danville, Iowa, won a starting tackle position on her junior high school's football team. (Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 17, 1977: 2).

According to the Washington Post, eight-year-old Lisa Glascock "became the first girl to win permission to play club football in Arlington County [Virginia]." 

Eight-year-old Tara King of Selden, NY was possibly the first girl to play little league tackle football in the New York City/Long Island area. Tara played despite a threat by the Middle Island District Youth Association to make her team, the Oilers, forfeit every game she appeared in. (See "A 50-pound tackle skirts regulations," by Jane Snider. Newsday. Sept. 23, 1977: 4)

Lisa Mims, a sophomore at Louisville (Alabama) High School, averaged 40 yards per punt for the football squad. 

During the week of August 7-13, 1977, the Maryland Department of Education passed a regulation permitting girls to try out for what were traditionally "boys only" sports. One of the first girls to take advantage of the rules change was Karen Duke, a 5'2", 145-pound senior at High Point High School. She took part in her first football tryout session on August 15. She was hoping to be a defensive back or place-kicker. (Huff, Donald. "Girl Gives Football A Go At High Point." Washington Post. Aug. 17, 1977: D-1, D-5.)


Donna Wilborn of Mount Horeb High School became the first Wisconsin girl to play for a high school football team.

Ida Fox, a 5-foot-4, 120 pound sophomore, won a spot on the junior varsity football team at Poolesville High School in the Washington, DC area. Ms. Fox got to be a second-string safety and a No. 5 tailback. (Washington Post. Sept. 17, 1978: E1, E5)

Mia Frederick played football for Fort Pierce (Florida) Central High School this year. Mia was a third-string defensive back who played in four games and made four solo tackles. (Talley, Scot. "And No. 79 . . .Heather; PB Lakes Koren Plays Football, Just for Kicks." Palm Beach Post. Oct. 1, 1991; Sports: 1C.)





Mary Ellen Wiley became the backup punter for the Coronado (California) High School football team. Said Coronado assistant coach Dave Tupek, "she was pretty talented, and had no trouble holding her own in drills and wasn't afraid to tackle when we had scrimmages." (Warren, Jennifer. "Sophomore Aims to Join Lineup; She's Tackling Ban on Girls Playing Football." Los Angeles Times. Orange County Edition. May 18, 1985; Metro [Part 2]: 1.)

Jodi Sorenson played high school football at Hallock High School in Minnesota. (Grow, Doug. "Female wide receiver isn't about to drop her dream." Star-Tribune Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul. August 31, 1986; Metro: 1C.)



Tami Maida was a quarterback for the Philamath (Oregon) High School football team. Her story became the basis for a 1983 CBS Movie of the Week titled, Quarterback Princess, starring Helen Hunt.

In Tripoli, Iowa, thirteen-year-old Sarah Ambrose was a second-string tight end for her junior high school's football team. ("Co-ed football concerns Iowa athletic officials" by Dan Wilinsky. UPI Newswire May 5, 1984.)

I have just received some new information about two girls who played football as freshmen at Franklin Township High School in Somerset, New Jersey. Their names are Linda DeSantis and Teresha (Teresa?) Carter. If anyone has pictures of these two in uniform, or if anyone has a copy of the Franklin Township High School yearbook for 1981 or 1982 and can scan pictures of the two from that yearbook, please let me know. Thank you.


This year saw two more Wisconsin high school girls follow in Donna Wilborn's footsteps. Vicki Smith of Shorewood High School and Judy Jackson of Juneau High School in Milwaukee took to the gridiron.

Beth Bates was the first girl to play high school football in the state of Kentucky. As a kicker for the Williamsburg High School football team, Beth scored five point-after-touchdowns in 1982 and a PAT and a field goal in 1983. By 1990, Ms. Bates had become a high school math teacher and girls' basketball coach ([Louisville] Courier-Journal Oct. 15, 1990: 1B).

Rolanda Cole of Canada's Confederation High School became the first girl in either Carleton or Ottawa (and possibly the first girl in all of Canada) to play high school football. (Canadian Press. "Breaking the Barrier." Globe and Mail. May 5, 1984: 52.)


Alexandra "Alix" Coulter, age 20, became the first woman to ever play intramural tackle football at Harvard University. (From Boston Globe, Oct. 21, 1983)

Eighth-grader Dawn Anders was given permission by Chickasha, OK school district officials to go out for football. (UPI Aug. 24, 1983)

Thanks to a restraining order obtained by the Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, a girl named Ellice Stanwick (5'9", 168 lbs.) was allowed to suit up for and play in the last football game of the regular season at her junior high school.

Rose Marie Germana (5'5", 130 lbs.) became the first girl to play varsity football in the Philadelphia Archdiocese's Catholic Youth Organization. She was a fullback/linebacker for the football team at St. Edmond's Parochial School. (see Philadelphia Daily News, Oct. 6, 1983; section 4 (LOCAL): 4.)

Around this time, Maggie Mayo (Mayot?) became the "first female in Quebec to play on a boys tackle football squad." (She played for the Chateauguay Raiders, who won that year's Quebec Midget (for 16-and-17-year-olds) football championship. See Windspeaker, March 2000: page B-2.)



Cyndi Bays became one of the first girls to play high school football in Southern California when she suited up as a wide receiver and special teams player on the Royal High School sophomore team.

On April 11, 1984, Douglas County Oregon Judge Donald Sanders ordered the rescinding of a Sutherlin school district policy that barred girls from playing football and other contact sports.

According to statistics from the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations, eight girls played on varsity high school football teams in the fall of 1984: three in California and five in Mississippi.

As of this year, the Iowa Boys High School Athletic Union received reports of 3 or 4 girls playing junior high school football each year. ("Co-ed football concerns Iowa athletic officials" by Dan Wilinsky. UPI Newswire May 5, 1984.)


Elizabeth Balsley and Charlene Van Brunt became the first two girls to play high school football in the New York City Metropolitan Area. While Ms. Balsley of North Hunterdon Regional High School got most of the media attention, Ms. Van Brunt of Hopatcong High was the first of the two to actually play in a game. She played for the freshman football team on Sept. 20, 1985 versus Sparta High School. Ms. Balsley made her first junior varsity game appearance on October 21, 1985.

In 1985 and 86, Tammi Smith of Galesburg , Ill. tried out and participated on the Galesburg High School varsity team through summer camp and the first scrimmage game of her high school. She befriended Elizabeth Balsley of New Jersey who gained national attention when she won a court battle to tryout for her team. Tammi invited Elizabeth to spend the summer of 1986 with her and her family and they attended football camp together at Galesburg High School. I might add that Tammi would have made it through the season had it not been for teammate harassment and cheap shots at her practices!


Lizzie Luna of Westchester High School became the first girl to try out for and win a spot on a high school football team in the Los Angeles Unified School district. She earned a second string fullback position.

Bridgette Farris scored a Point-after-touchdown kick in the 3rd Quarter of Fresno Hoover High's 9-0 win over Dinuba (CA) High. It was believed to be the first score ever made by a girl in a California varsity football game.

Jacqueline Sumell, age 12, of Oakdale, NY played for the dolphins, a team in the Sachem Youth Advisory Group tackle football program. She was a starting safety on defense. At the time, Ms. Sumell was believed to be the only girl playing competitive tackle football on Long Island.

16-year-old Jacqueline Lantz of Yonkers, New York won a court ruling in October 1985 which enabled her and other girls in New York State to try out for football.

In September, Sheila Gaffney of Toombs Central High School became the first girl to play in a high school football game in Georgia. Miss Gaffney, a 5'8", 135-pound fullback, played in one quarter of Toombs' season opener. ("Girl becomes first to play in Georgia high school football game" Associated Press. Sept. 7, 1985.) A couple weeks later, Shelley Garner (5'2", 100 lbs.) became the first girl to score in a high school football game in Georgia.


On October 20, Texas' University Interscholastic League voted 12 to 6 in favor of allowing girls to play football in junior high school. This rules change allowed 14 year old Tina Trejo of Austin to play for Bedichek Junior High School.

After the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association decided to allow girl to try out for contact sports such as football, Jessica Leverett a Sparks High School became the first girl to play in a Nevada high school football game.

Girls in high school football became a reality on Long Island, New York this year. At Glen Cove High School, gymnasts Pamela Graham, a 5'1", 101-pound senior, and Lisa Massago, a sophomore, decided to give junior varsity football a try. They took part in their first scrimmage on October 19. Meanwhile, Central Islip High School sophomore Patricia English joined her school's junior varsity football team. She was eligible to see game action for the first time on October 25 versus Bellport. (See "For 3 Girls, A New Field of Study," by Edna Negron and Anemona Hartocollis. Newsday. Oct. 16, 1986: 6)

Christine Tinglin (5'10", 135 pounds) of West Humber Collegiate High School and Alison Irving (185 pounds) of Silverthorn High School were among the first girls to play high school football in Toronto, Canada. Ms. Tinglin was a wide receiver for the West Humber Collegiate senior team while Ms. Irving was on Silverthorn's junior team. ("Two girls tackling gridiron wars; Another male bastion crumbles," by David Grossman. Toronto Star. Oct. 10, 1986: F6.)

Melissa Berry, a linebacker for the Apex Middle School, became the first girl to play middle school football in Wake City, North Carolina.

Saralee Huffman of Winnebago High School became the first girl in the state of Nebraska to play high school football. In a 1986 game versus Macy, Saralee appeared in five or six plays as a defensive nose guard. She would go on to play three years as a guard and linebacker. (Associated Press. Oct. 19, 1997.)



Heidi Kaiser of New Smyrna Beach High School was believed to be the first female to score in a Florida high school football game. Heidi's first score was a point after kick in the first quarter of the New Smyrna Beach Tornadoes 0-6 win over Daytona Beach Mainland High School.

Kari McCallum of Roosevelt High School became the first female to play football in the Seattle, Washington area Metro League. (From Seattle Times. January 7, 1988; Zone: B3.)

Shelley Ajax played football for Port Townsend High School. Here is what she had to say about the experience:

I had to go through the school board and a physical exam to play football. The town was for it, the players were for it, the school board was against it. After a return of the medical examiners report which said I was more physically capable of playing then the boys and a review by the school's attorneys saying that they couldn't deny me play they allowed it. I played both JV and Varsity and was a defensive back and wide end receiver. It was interesting and fun and challenging all at the same time. I was a marathoner prior to that and very athletic in every event. I wasn't isolated from the rest of the team at any time and basically learned more about men than I did about football. But I grew up a tomboy somewhat as it is and was very athletic. I wanted to play football just to play not because there were any barriers. I knew many of the teammates from playing beach football on summers when I visited my father in Port Townsend. I originally lived in Seattle. Knowing I wanted to play...I decided to make the move over there my Summer year because I didn't want to get sloshed playing at Ingraham High in Seattle...a Triple A school. I was Vice President of the Senior class and carried a very high GPA. I had numerous opportunities for scholarships in Cross Country, so many wondered what the heck I was doing giving it up. But I knew that my academics would carry me even further and I didn't want to do sports in college. I was one of the youngest female marathoners in Washington State. I ran the Emerald City Marathon when I was 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Placing in the top 12 each time in my age division. I think I last placed 3rd. Needless to say, I had my kids when I was young and they are finally old enough so that I can continue in my schooling. So, I am headed to law school next year. I am not sure what I can tell you that would be helpful with your site. Maybe you can let me know. I am happy to help. In the meantime, I will look at getting some pictures to you in between my hectic schedule!


Trina Dugas, a 5'9", 165-pound aspiring lineman, won the right to tryout for a spot on the H.B. Beal High School football team in London, Ontario, Canada. ("Playing football goal of London girl." Toronto Star. Sept. 30, 1987: A9.)



Vicky DeHaan of Stuart-Menlo High School caught a two-point conversion pass in her team's 36-14 victory over Adair Casey. With that catch, Ms. DeHaan became the first girl to score in an Iowa high school football game.

Mindy Levitt, a sophomore at the Moses Brown Prep School in Providence, RI, played at wide receiver in a Sept. 24 game versus St. Thomas More Prep of Oakdale, CT. Mindy is believed to be the first girl to play high school football in Rhode Island.

In January, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association voted to allow girls to play "boys sports that aren't offered for girls." The following fall, Kristy Dunham of Metarie High School became the first girl to play high school football in Louisiana.

Barb Koenig of Northglenn High School became the first girl to score--and maybe also the first girl to play, in a Colorado high school football game. She kicked the winning point-after-touchdown in Northglenn's 7-6 win over Poudre High School

Stacey Hoffman (5'5", 135 lbs.), a junior at Lincoln High School, joined the football team as an offensive tackle. She was the first girl to play high school football in Lincoln, Nebraska.



Christel Winston, a kicker at Hermitage High School, became the first girl to score in a Virginia high school varsity football game.

Leanne Bollinger kicked two point-after-touchdowns for the Long Branch High School football team in its 28-8 win over Monmouth Regional High School. Leanne was the first girl to play on, and score for, a main varsity football team in New Jersey.

Kathleen Trumbo, a 5-feet-8, 150 pound senior at Corydon Central High School, became the first Indiana girl to play an entire season for a high school varsity football team. She also became the first girl in the state to win a varsity letter for football.

Veronica Pruneda of Alisal High in Salinas, CA, was trying out for guard on the freshman football team and was the first girl to participate in football in that school. (Source: Devine, John. Article for Gannett News Service. August 29, 1989.)



Britt Chastain of Greensboro Dudley High School became the first girl to score in a North Carolina varsity football game when she kicked a point-after-touchdown in her team's 29-0 victory over South Rowan High School.



Susan Price and Jacqueline Gainer, both seniors at Valley Stream Central High School, earned spots on the varsity football team as kickers. On September 28, Jacqueline Gainer converted on an extra point kick to become the first girl to ever score in a varsity football game in New York State.

Danielle Schurr (5'6", 147 lbs.), age 17, was a wide receiver for the varsity football team at Irvington High School in Fremont, California. She joined the team on a dare from an established football player. Here is what Ms. Schurr told the San Jose Mercury News about playing football: "I'm not a great player. I do not play very well. when I play, I play my hardest and do what I'm supposed to do." (Vigallon, Scott. "Danielle Schurr Draws Attention as a Girl Playing Football But Just Wants to be . . .One of the Guys." San Jose Mercury News. Oct.9, 1991: 1C.)

Terri James (5'4", 120 lbs.) of Humboldt High School scored a touchdown in her team's 40-0 win over Pawnee City. Terri became the first girl to score in a Nebraska high school football game.

Tressa Thompson, a defensive back and wide receiver for Bloomfield High School, became the first girl to receive a medal for participating in the Nebraska's Class C-2 state high school playoffs. (Associated Press. Oct. 19, 1997.)


Amy Mercer, a tenth-grader at Markham District High School, was one of the first girls to play high school football in Canada. She was a defensive back and special teams player for the Markham Marauders junior squad.



On October 15, Jennifer Brezinski of the Indiana School for the Deaf ran the ball four yards for a touchdown in her school's football game versus Edinburgh High School. Ms. Brezinski became the first girl to score in varsity football game in Indiana.

Katie Tribble, a kicker for Flagstaff High School, was the first girl to score in a high school football game in Arizona. Her kicking exploits earned her a spot on the Arizona Republic's Class 4A All State Team.


Three years after Jacqueline Gainer and Susan Price made headlines with their gridiron exploits at Valley Stream Central High School, Jami DeProspo was a kicker for a Nassau County championship contender at Valley Stream High School South.

Mary Reynolds, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound freshman Central High School in Peoria, Illinois, became the Peoria metro area's first female high school football player. (Source: Leavitt, Bob. "She's learning who to hit; So far, Mary Reynolds has been on wrong end of hits as rookie lineman." Peoria Journal Star. September 8, 1994: D1.)

This season, Jenny Grubb of J.B. Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, became the first girl to score in an Illinois varsity football game by kicking a 37-yard field goal in one game. (See USA Today, July 26, 1995: 8C.)



Snow Brenner, a kicker for High Point Central High School, became the first girl to play in a North Carolina high school football championship game. She saw action in her team's Class 3A championship game versus Bertie High School.

Ali Nicolle, a 5-foot-5, 120-pound kicker for Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillichothe, Illinois, became the "first girl in the Journal Star area to score a point in a varsity football game." In a game versus Canton, which Illinois Valley Central won 33-18, Ali was 3 for 5 on point-after kicks. (Source: Leavitt, Bob. "Here's the kicker: He's a she." Peoria Journal Star. September 15, 1995: C1.)

Around 1995 Rochelle Township High School in Rochelle, Illinois had a young lady on their team. She played for at least 2, if not 3 seasons. Her name was Holly Hart or Burkhardt. She wasn't really a big girl, but all the guys were scared of her.

Around Sept. 23, 1995, Jillian Beach, a 5'6", 120 lb. junior at Brentwood (NY) High School, became the first girl to score in a Suffolk County, Long Island, NY high school football game when she kicked a couple extra points in her team's 41-20 victory over Ward Melville. Ms. Beach won the Junior Miss New York Pageant in 1993, then took up high school football in 1995. Jillian's mother encouraged her to stay the course in spite of hostility from a couple teammates, and indeed she did. Jillian was 5 for 6 on PATs in 1995 and 5 for 7 in 1996 through Nov. 3. Brentwood coach Vinnie DeRiggi was so pleased by Jillian's kicking performances that he decided to make her an honorary captain for the season finale versus Longwood High School. (See the following articles: Krupinski, Joe; Rock, Tom; Osipoff, Michael; and Molinet, Jason. "Beach Puts Her Best Foot Forward." Newsday. November 7, 1996; Sports: A79 and Glickson, Grant. "High School Report." New York Times. Oct. 7, 1995; Sec. 1: 32.)

In September, Sarah Mergethaler of Marlboro High School became the first girl to kick a field goal in a New Jersey high school football game. Her 20-yard field goal was Marlboro's only score in a 20-3 loss to Wall(?) High School. (See Newark Star-Ledger, Oct. 8, 1995.)

Becky Hite, a reserve lineman for Musselman High School, became the first girl to play in the West Virginia state high school football playoffs. (Landon, Chuck. "SSAC Praying for End to…" Charleston Daily Mail. Dec. 1, 1995: 2C.)






On Saturday, Oct. 26, 1996 at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium, 16-year-old Angela Ichnose (5'5', 135 lbs.) kicked a 27-yard field goal for Iolani High School to become the first girl to successfully kick a field goal in Hawaiian Interscholastic Football League history.(Yukihiro-Chang, Diane. "Changing Hawaii: A teen girl who gets a kick out of football." Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Nov. 1, 1996. accessed via

Emily Quilter, who played on the football team at Laguna Beach High School, was featured in a Jump magazine article.  Here is a picture of her:

Emily QuilterDuring her years of playing football at Laguna Beach High, Emily got to play against another girl, April Perry, who was a defensive back for Orange Lutheran High School in 1995.


On October 18, Liz Heaston kicked two point-after-touchdowns for Salem, Oregon's Willamette University. She became the first woman to play in a college football game in the United States.

The following link,, features a story about Samantha Grisafe, a quarterback for a little league football team in Redlands, California. ("An Open Field: Story of a girl quarterback," by Obrey Brown. Redlands Daily Facts. November 9, 1998)

Jessica Smith (5'5", 150 lbs.) of the McLoughlin Middle School became the first girl to score a touchdown in a Medford, Oregon area middle school football game. Jessica scored on a 27-yard touchdown run in the 7th grade team's 22-8 victory over Scenic Middle School of Central Point, Oregon. Jessica was one of three girls playing football at McLoughlin this year; Jennifer Reynolds and Tabitha Bruce were linemen on the 8th grade JV team. (Hunt, Don. "Girl Makes Historic Run." Mail Tribune. Oct. 21, 1997. This article is online at

An undermanned Alden-Hebron High School football team recruited Gail Winkleman and Gina Powers for emergency game duty versus the Wisconsin School for the Deaf.



Becky Thuestad played football for St. Edward High School in Elgin, IL this season. She was a strong side linebacker.

According to an e-mail I received, Christina Zicaro was a linebacker on the DePaul High School freshman football team this year. Earlier she had played for the Cedar Grove Buccaneers, a Pop Warner team in New Jersey.

Mandi Peterson of Larimore High School scored a touchdown o a 30-yard interception return in a Sept. 5 game versus Griggs County Central. Mandi, a second-string quarterback and linebacker, was believed to be the first girl to ever score a touchdown in a North Dakota high school football game.

Kelly Barlow of Catholic Central High School was the first girl to play varsity football in the Albany, New York area since Jennifer Elliot of Voorheesville High School in 1988. (Times Union [Albany, NY]. Aug. 27, 1998: C3.)



On Sept. 17, 1999, Breann Smith, a senior at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI, became the first girl to score a touchdown in a Michigan high school football game. With 2:21 remaining in the third quarter, Breann took a hand-off from the quarterback and ran it in for the score against Traverse City.

Sierra Belk, a kicker for Clay High School and Jamie Garside of Providence High are believed to be the first girls to play varsity-level high school football in the Jacksonville, Florida area. (Check out the following link: ).

Seventeen magazine did a story about Kristen Boyle, a 6'1", 195-pound offensive and defensive lineman for Gig Harbor (Washington) High School. ('True grit: girl meets football - and loves it" by Carmen Renee Thompson. Seventeen. Sept. 1999 v58 i9 p142.) She was a junior this year.

Another physically big girl who took to the gridiron this year was 6'1", 215-pound senior Erin White of Grimsley High School in North Carolina. She played on the defensive line.

Sophomore Justine Christiansen made Mechanicville (New York) history by being the first female to carry the ball in a varsity football game. Christiansen carried the ball once in the fourth quarter for two yards. Voorheesville's Jennifer Elliot was the first female to compete at the varsity football level in New York Section II in the late 1980s.

Kristin Marcuccilli, a 5'11" junior kicker ranked first in her class at Marion High School, became the first girl to play high school football in Grant County Indiana. In her senior season in 2000, Kristin scored 37 PATs according to Indian Football Magazine online. (







This year 16-year-old Holly Taylor was a 5'9", 175-pound right guard/linebacker for Morley (Michigan) Stanwood High School's varsity football team. ("High School Player Enjoying Varsity Status." Associated Press Oct. 3, 2000)

KaLena "Beanie" Barnes got off a 35-yard punt in the fourth quarter of Nebraska's annual Red-White spring game. She's the first woman to work out with the Nebraska University football team. (Sherman, Mitch and Pivovar, Steve. "Woman Makes History with Punt." Omaha World-Herald. Apr. 16, 2000; Sports: 5C.)

Natalie Davy and Natalie Bell were defensive halfbacks for the football team at Pickering High School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ms. Bell had two years of football experience with the Pickering Dolphins community team. ("Gridiron is a girl's best friend--Two Natalies tackle football's gender barrier," by David Grossman (Michael Stuparyk). Toronto Star. Oct. 13, 2000: SP11.)

Kati Jo Spisak was a kicker for Parkway South High School in the St. Louis, Missouri area. At 6'2" and 160 pounds, Ms. Spisak, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "appears big enough to play most other positions. there were other girls in the St. Louis area playing football as well: Lisa Schweppe (5'5") of St. Charles West High School, who was 5 for 5 on PATs through the first few games of the season; Ashley Knepper of Belleville High School East, who kicked a PAT in the fourth quarter of a game played Sept. 8; and Jackie Ohmes of Fort Zumwalt High School, who kicked a Pat in a Sept. 16 game versus Ms. Schweppe's St. Charles West team. ("More girls are making a mark kicking for prep team." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sept. 27, 2000; Sports: D3.)


Via a LEXIS-NEXIS search, I just came across the story of one Kimberly "Kim" Sanders, a 6'+, 290-pound freshman who played for the Althoff Catholic High School (Belleville, Illinois) football team this year. The story aired on the local news shows of WJW of Cleveland, Ohio; WGHP of Jacksonville, Florida; and KSAZ of Scottsdale, Arizona in September 2000. I now have a photo of Kim. To view a larger version, click here.




According to a report on airing on WVBT-TV on Sept. 23, 2000, Kathy Aldridge, a football player at Patrice County High School in Stuart, Virginia, was named homecoming queen. She accepted her crown in a mud-spattered football uniform at half time. I am still seeking of photo of Ms. Aldridge in uniform from that homecoming game. Please e-mail me if you can help.

On Sept. 15, Chelsey-Ann Kaimi of Nanakuli High School scored on a one-yard run versus Moanalua, making her the first girl to score a touchdown in a Hawaiian high school football game. I found the article covering this feat at at the address:,4950,9-0-102-284810,00.html. The link is, unfortunately, no longer active. ("Former Beaverton player scores historic touchdown," by Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin prep coordinator, HighWired Sports correspondent) Ms. Kaimi played on Nanakuli's junior varsity football team in 1999 and scored several touchdowns; she also played freshman football for Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon.

Jenn Benton of Portland (Oregon) Christian High School made headlines by playing as a starting offensive guard and defensive tackle for the football team. She was also named Homecoming Queen.

Amanda Gibson of Vinemont (Alabama) High School became the first female to score points in a varsity football game in Cullman County by kicking a 23-yard field goal versus Fairview High School in the season opener. ("Place-kicker first female to score points in Cullman varsity football game." Associated Press Sept. 7, 2000.)

Adrianna Delhotal (5'7", 170 lbs.) of Elgin High School became the first girl to play high school football in Elgin, Illinois. ("Female football player plays like one of the guys." Associated Press. Aug. 18, 2000.)

Cecelia "Ceci" Clark, a senior place-kicker, became the first girl to score in a Berkeley High School football game with a PAT on Sept. 8 versus Foothill High School of Pleasanton, CA.


According to Newsday, Long Island, New York has several girls playing football at the high school and middle school levels this year. Among them are the following: Ashley Simicich, a defensive end for Oakdale-Bohemia Road Junior High School; Jessica Aiello and Kaeleigh Johnson of the Smithtown Middle School's Smithtown Blue team; Tiyani Bussie and Aquira Gwathney of the Copiague Middle School; Sarah McDonald of the Saxton Middle School in Patchogue; Victoria Rubin, a senior kicker for East Rockaway High School; Sarah Gallagher, a wide receiver for East Rockaway's junior varsity team; and Melissa Cortes, a reserve nose guard for Longwood High School. Also, Hewlett High School place-kicker Amanda Miller was 9 for 10 on point-after attempts through three games. While the aforementioned article is still online, here is the link: (Sarra, Gregg. "That Guy Hitting You? It's a Girl." Newsday. October 12, 2001.)

Samantha Aripotch was another Long Island girl playing football at the junior high school level in 2001.  In fact, she was the first deaf female to play football on a hearing boys’ football team at Islip Terrace Junior High School at East Islip.



In 2002, Candice Caruso, a running back for Lockport Township High School, became the first girl to play in an Illinois state high school football championship game.  A picture of her with her team can be found at For another article about Candice visit this link:



Recently, Long Island’s Newsday reported on the gridiron exploits of Clarke High School junior Katlyn Billian.




This page remains very much under construction, and I plan to add to it in the coming weeks.


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