The last time that a girl played on the Moffat County High School football team was 12 years ago. But that changed when senior Kelsea DeBowes joined the team this year. DeBowes loves to play football, however wrestling is her favorite sport. Last year, she started to play for Hayden High School but quit after only a few weeks. DeBowes said it was one of the biggest regrets of her life, so she decided to play her senior year. She is a lineman, but safety is her favorite position. DeBowes likes the safety position because all she has to do is go after the player with the ball. She does believe that it is harder to play because a girl's body is not meant for the sport. She said the worst part about playing on the team is getting tackled. "It hurts every part of your body, but you still have to get back up. You are not allowed to cry," said DeBowes. She likes how her teammates are always teasing and joking with one another. "How they act out there is so different from any other time," said DeBowes when asked what her favorite thing about playing with boys.
She has been injured most of the season. She has suffered two concussions and a sprained ankle. Debowes has never played in a game before because of these lingering injuries. She said she feels like one of the team when the boys hit her shoulder pads and help her get pumped up. DeBowes would rather play on a boy's team because there is less drama than there would be on a girl's team. She does not feel that it is unfair if the boys get to play more because they have earned it.
The first thought that ran through junior Chris Goucher's head when DeBowes came to her first practice was surprise. "It's not a big deal. We treat her like we would anyone else. She just has to dress in a different locker room," said Goucher when he was asked about having a girl on the team. Junior Michael Samuelson agrees. He said that the acceptance of the players just depends on the person. Samuelson said that he was impressed that she made it through the season. He also thinks that she does not get singled out during practice for being a girl. Samuelson definitely has mixed thoughts about having a girl on the team. Coach Kip Hafey believes that DeBowes and the other teammates get along rather well. Hafey thinks that her teammates treat her just like any other player. He said that she is out there fighting for a position. "When she is suited up and able to practice, she is just like anyone else," said Hafey.