BY MIA WALTER, Smoke Signals
Starting football kicker Shelby Vaughn will turn heads throughout the George Rogers Clark High School stadium when she stepped up to the tee — a distraction, to say the least, for the Oldham County players the GRC football team met on the field Friday night.
The match was Vaughn’s first game as a football Cardinal.
Halfway through the season, Vaughn was recruited as the kicker for the GRC football team by Coach Oliver Lucas. At that point, she was forced to juggle football practices and soccer practice/games if she were to decide to take the opportunity.
However, an action-packed schedule has never been something to make the soccer star give up.
Vaughn is a senior this year, and has been on the GRC girl’s soccer team for five years.
It’s not every day that you see a girl on a football team, willing to defy the odds.
“We were about to start practice one day, and my soccer coach, Matt, said that if someone could make it from the 30-yard line, then we wouldn’t have to run,” Vaughn said. “I volunteered, missed that one, and the football coaches who were standing there from their practice asked me to try it with a football. I made it that time, and Coach Lucas had me kick it a few more times before asking if I was interested in being the kicker for the football team. At first, I was hesitant and thought it was a joke, but then my family talked me into it and here I am.”
Most people may have said “no” to this kind of offer to avoid having to fit both sports into their busy enough high school schedule, but for Vaughn, that was no big deal.
“I only go for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, and so far, I have been to four practices total,” she said. “They had to approve it with Mr. Keene (athletic director) and the rule is to practice for a week with pads on before I play in a game.
“The football coaches were very good about working around my soccer schedule… One football practice, I had to get on the bus for a soccer game right after I finished practicing kicking for football.”
Since a girl on the football roster is indeed a road less traveled, fans may be wondering how the team feels about the newest addition.
Vaughn mentions that an opportunity like this makes her feel “very lucky,” and she is happy because “…everyone is glad to have me here helping out. My football teammates do a good job at making me feel comfortable.”
As for Lucas, he says that his favorite gender is “winner.”
“I am not concerned with gender but productivity,” he said.
Mia Walter is a senior at George Rogers Clark High School and a member of the Smoke Signals multimedia staff.