PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – When Bay High freshman Emily Rollins started the year off, she didn’t expect to be out on the football field on Friday nights with the Tornadoes.
“It all started when one of our past kickers got hurt and we were all messing around like I should do it, and then the principal came to me and said ‘you should do this Emily’ so then I just did a walk on tryout and ended up really loving it,” Rollins said.
Rollins did have to earn her spot on the team like every other player, but Bay head coach Keith Bland was impressed with what he saw.
“She asked ‘do you mind I know I’m a girl, do you take girls playing,’ I said if you can kick between the uprights, you can do it, I don’t care. It’s not like we are doing this as a novelty, it’s because she is very skilled and talented at what she’s doing and that’s more important than anything else,” Bland said.
Rollins played in first game with the team on Friday night when they took on Northview.
Even though her first extra point attempt was blocked, she plans on getting one this Friday night when they take on Rutherford.
“I feel a lot more confident and it’s not as nerve-wracking now that I got the jitters out because for my first time kicking it was like scary but now I’m a lot more confident and I’m really ready for this game,” Rollins said.
While Rollins is the only girl on the varsity team this year, she’s not the only girl to play for the Bay High football program.
“We had a young girl, Haley Guthrie, played for us on JV this year and she came to all the summer workouts and they embraced her and cheered her on just like one of the players on the team,” Bland said.
Even though Rollins will only get to play in a few games with the Tornadoes this year, she hopes this won’t be the last time she’s out there in pads.
“If I can make the team every year I would love to be out here with everybody, everybody is super supportive and nice and Coach Bland and Pastor Rivers are fabulous. I just love it here and would love to play all four years if I could,” Rollins said.
Coach Bland said he hopes the offense can give her the opportunity to kick on Friday night when they take on Rutherford.