Emily Wainscott had been a football fan for a couple of years.
Now she’s a football player.
A third-grader at Bridgeport Elementary, Emily moved from the sidelines as a cheerleader in the Frankfort Youth Football League to the defensive line with the Cowboys’ pee-wee team in the FYFL.
She’s found her niche on the field, playing on the offensive and defensive lines, and is the only girl playing in the FYFL this season.
“There wasn’t too much action over at cheerleading,” said Emily, who was a Cowboys cheerleader for two years before joining the football team this season.
She kept her eye on the game while cheering from the sidelines.
“I liked watching people get tackled,” Emily said. “That was funny to watch.”
Now she’s the one doing the tackling. Going into this past weekend’s game Emily was one of the Cowboys’ leading tacklers and the team’s leader in sacks.
“I like it a lot,” she said of playing football. “Tackling is my favorite part.”
Having not played organized football before, Emily had a lot to learn this season, but she’s picked up the game quickly.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Cowboys pee-wee coach Scott McGregor said about having Emily on the team, “but I saw her out on the field doing drills with pads on, and her footwork surprised us all.
“She’s very disciplined, and she does everything we tell her to do. She doesn’t fuss, she just does what we ask of her and goes with it.”
Emily doesn’t play any other organized sports, but she does hunt and fish.
Right now her focus is on football. She likes just about everything about the game, including stretching and running at the start of practice, and her football playing isn’t limited to the FYFL.
“We pass the football a lot when I play with my friends,” said Emily, who is eight years old. “I tackled a friend in the front yard with his pads on a couple of weeks ago.”
Nicknamed Thunder, Emily sees plenty of playing time with the Cowboys.
“She’s on the offensive line and defensive line,” McGregor said. “She doesn’t come out. We work on her hitting because she wants to hit the biggest players. She comes every day ready to work.”
Emily plans on playing again next season, and McGregor said she fits right in with her teammates.
“They treat her no differently. They love it,” he said about having a girl on the team.
McGregor has been pleased with the play of his entire team.
“It’s going pretty good this year,” he said. “We have a lot of first-year players. Emily’s play surprised me, but I think it surprised us all. The whole team has heart.”