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Local girls are kicking the habit on football teams

By Anthony Rhoads

The Jonesboro and Stockbridge football teams have girl power in 2003.

Both teams feature female kickers who are in their first year of football – senior Sarah Schroeter at Stockbridge and freshman Kayla Cole at Jonesboro.

Schroeter is following in the footsteps of her brothers, Adam Schroeter and Ryan Abrahams, who also were kickers at Stockbridge.

She is making the most of her opportunity this year because she wanted to try out for the team before this season but wasn't able to.

"(New Stockbridge head coach Danny) Fairbanks has been great," Schroeter said. "Coach (Jeff) Caldwell wasn't as positive as coach Fairbanks was. I wouldn't have come out if it wasn't for coach Fairbanks."

Schroeter also credits former Sandy Creek kicker Jenna Thomason with getting her out on the football field.

"I talked to her and she was an awesome person," Schroeter said. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be playing."

Schroeter has gotten off to a solid start at Stockbridge. In last Friday's scrimmage against Mundy's Mill, she made two extra points.

"The first time I went out there I was all nervous but after that first one, it was exciting," she said. "I won't give up now after those first two points."

Schroeter admits that she doesn't have a ?girly' mentality and she feels more comfortable in a football uniform rather than dressing up.

"Last year they had to pull me into a dress for prom," she said. "I don't wear makeup and I don't dress up. I'm not into that stuff."

Cole got into football through a dare. In seventh grade, she was challenged to try out for football. She didn't play middle school football but now that she's a high school freshman, she is getting her chance.

"I enjoy it a lot more now and I understand it a lot more now," she said. "One of my goals is to improve and be the best kicker I can be."

Both teams have pretty much accepted the girls, especially after seeing their kicking skills.

During special teams tryouts at Stockbridge, Schroeter booted several long kickoffs, which easily impressed both the coaching staff and the players.

"I'll take her in a heartbeat," Fairbanks said. "She has a really good attitude and I'm all for it. She's doing fine and she's handling the extra points."

After the solid showings in practice and in last week's scrimmage, Schroeter is entrenched as a member of the team.

"At first they were a little hesitant but after a while I became one of the guys," she said. "The guys are awesome."

Cole also has had a positive experience at Jonesboro and the transition to high school was made easier because of being on the football team.

"They're great," she said. "I went into high school having 77 big brothers to look out for me. They don't let anyone mess with me or bother me."

New Jonesboro head coach Larry Mortonson has encouraged Cole and said she has responded well this summer.

"The team has really accepted her and are behind her 100 percent," he said. "We've always been receptive to it even though this is my first experience of having a girl on the football team. If any other girls want to come out and try, then they're more than welcome to."

Both girls are well aware of what other female kickers have done in the past such as Tonya Butler, who played at Riverdale in the late 1990s. She was on the 1998 Riverdale team that went to the state semifinals and she went on to play at Middle Georgia College.

"I guess it's cool to know I'm not the only one," Cole said. "Some people here have seen me and have said they are going to try out now."

Schroeter hopes to improve enough to where she can go on to kick in college.

Her long-term goal is to join the military and she has already been accepted to the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Both girls play other sports as well. Schroeter plays soccer and Cole play soccer and swims.