DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — While high school football enters its second week of the playoffs, one team has been leading the charge in breaking down barriers.
Valley Head High School football is on quite the tear this year, going 10-1 in the regular season. Aside from dominating on the field, they’ve also made history.
Junior Autum Rhodes has been playing football for around five years. She’s played varsity for the last three. However, despite being a girl in a team full of boys, she says they’re all equal.
“They respect you as long as you respect them.”
She is involved in many plays on the defensive line. She says the team has her back.
“For myself, I put myself down most times. I’m not like them, but I know they try and get behind me. They help me if I need help with this play. They help.”
Head coach Charles Hammon has seen her play for the past two years and says that on day one he told her she was going to be treated like every other player.
“I sat Autum down and we spoke and I told her she had to do everything that everyone else does. She basically has her own lockeroom and has a card she hangs up, like do not come in here so she can change. Autum actually plays defensive tackle for us and she actually had one of the biggest hits this year.”
Defensive line coach Jared Hulgan was initially surprised to see a girl on his defensive line.
“At first I asked coach Hammon, ‘you know what are we doing here?’ Then I met her, and I said she could probably play for us. And she wants it, so you know, I’m proud of her.”
Now, he says she can take down anyone.
“She could probably whoop half the team we’ve got, if we got into it.”
Coach Hammon also says that autum was excited to be doing this interview, but her main concern was making it to practice on time. And she did.