Va. HS football player kicks stereotypes to curb

Ben Raby,

MANASSAS, Va. – When Mariah Nichols readies for a field goal at Osbourn Park High School, the blond locks poking through her helmet are hard to miss.

“That’s a girl out there,” coach Rodney Hodgson says.

“It’s not a boy with long hair.”

Nichols is in fact the only girl on Osbourn Park’s varsity football team, and it’s a role the kicker embraces. The senior also plays on the girls’ soccer team but wanted a fall sport to fill her schedule.

“Hey, girl power,” Nichols says. “I think every girl should come out and try something new. It’s been awesome and I just wish I would have joined the team sooner.”

Nichols says that there’s “definitely more pressure” to succeed given that some doubt her abilities and whether she takes her role seriously.

“[Last] November when I started my weightlifting [with the team], they were like, ‘You’re not going to do it, I’ll bet you $50

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