A third girl joins Junior High football team in Van Horn

Kloe Robb takes aim at the “donut” with Maria Sanchez on deck in drills set in motion by Defensive Coach Tom Turnbow.

Photo by Lisa Morton

By Lisa Morton

7th grader Maria Sanchez strapped on the shoulder pads at Eagle Field Tuesday as the newest member of the Junior High Football team.  She joins two 6th graders, Aliza Calderon and Kloe Robb as the trio of girls that will play alongside a now well-rounded team of 16 players from 6th through 8th grades.

Girls playing on the boy’s teams are scarce and becoming more common in rural school districts with declining student body, usually in an attempt to fill a team.  The JH Eagles scrimmage against the Alpine Bucks last Saturday saw the Eagles get play time against a girl on the opposing team.

Whether encouraged to play or discouraged, these young girls have accepted the challenges that come with this full contact sport and they should be commended.  “I don’t want the boys to play any different,” said Kloe in her remarks about her participation on the team.  Coaches Juan Martinez and Thomas Turnbow are on the same page with the girls playing and have been placing the same expectations on them, promising they will be treated fairly.  “I want them to learn the fundamentals of the game and have fun doing it,” said Coach Martinez.

The Junior High plays the Kermit Yellow Jackets at 5:00 p.m. in Kermit today to kick-off the regular season.