OXFORD, Miss. (WMC) - There’s girl power on the football field at Oxford Middle School. The school’s first female football player, Aniah Echols, is in the starting lineup.
Oxford Middle School is well into its football season, and a successful one at that.
Echols, a seventh-grade offensive lineman, has started every game so far this season for the Chargers.
“This is how we approach this new dynamic – we have a team of 40 brothers and one sister,” said Coach Hardwick. “We look out for our sister and our sister has 40 brothers if there is a problem.”
So far, the seventh-grade team is 2-0, and Echols isn’t afraid to face off with the other team.
“I had to learn to love football at an early age if I wanted to play with my cousins,” she said. “I have eight boy cousins that played football all the time, so I wanted to play too.
Echols says her grandmother wouldn’t let the cousins tackle though. “Once I got my first good hit, I thought ‘hey this isn’t that bad’,” she said.
Echols is also a black belt in Taekwondo. She’s been involved in Martial Arts since she was 7 and is a gold medalist in sparring, board-breaking and forms.
Oxford Middle School’s coaching staff is making history too. This year, you’ll see Megan Wolfe on the sidelines. She’s the first female assistant coach in Oxford history.
Wolfe says she tried to play football in high school but the coach told her girls don’t play football.
“Back then, women playing in a predominately male sport wasn’t even a conversation on the table let alone actually happening,” said Wolfe. “Fast forward to today and I find myself in Oxford with an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I felt like it finally came back around where I could get my chance to help put women on the map when it comes to football.
Wolfe is on the Lady Panthers, one of the teams in the Mississippi Women’s Football League. She’ll be on their defensive line this upcoming season.