Mann Middle School Falcons welcome female football player to the team

POSTED: 4:49 AM Dec 24 2013   UPDATED: 3:43 PM Sep 07 2013
ABILENE, Texas -

Whoever said 'football is for the boys' hasn't met this member of the Mann Middle School Falcons.

Jhayah Adams is the first female football player to join the the school's team since the 1980's, and she's fearless on the field.

"If it's a big person, I might get a little shaky, but otherwise, nah," said Adams.

Her love for the sport started early, so it came as no big shock to her family when she asked to join the team.

"I wasn't surprised," said her mother, Rosetta Turnerhill. "Jhayah's wanted to play football since she was 6. She has brothers that play football and I think that kind of sparked an interest in her."

"They always played football and they used to tackle me hard," said Adams.

Now, she's tackling right back. The coaches say Jhayah fits right in with the team, and she's well aware of the risks that come with playing the game.

"Before she started, we told her and her Mom, 'this wasn't volleyball, this wasn't P.E. It's football and we're not going to treat her any differently than the boys. We're gonna expect her to do everything the boys do and there's injury that could happen.
If she gets hit, she gets hit. It's just part of the game,'" said Head Coach Randy Martin.

But does her family still worry?

"All the time," said Turnerhill. "I'm a mother so of course I worry. But she's a big girl, she can handle herself I think."

The coaches agree and they expect Jhayah to make the B or C team this fall.

"She's pretty tough and gets in there and mixes it up with the boys," said Martin.

While she's running plays on the field, she's also setting an example for other girls her age.

"I'm sure she's showing them you do what you want and you go after what you believe in," said Turnerhill.

We asked Jhayah, "What would you say to someone that says football is a sport for boys?"

"That it can be for girls, because I'm playing," said Jhayah.

She hopes to play in the Falcons first game next Wednesday.