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‘I wanted to prove a point to girls that it’s okay to play:’ Johnsonville 8th grader only girl on football team

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT
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JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - If you look closely at the sidelines of any Johnsonville High B team football game, a long braided ponytail should catch your eye.

‘I’d watch it on TV and then my dad would be outside throwing the football with me,” 8th grader Addie Harris said.

She’s the Golden Flashes’ kick return team - and she’s the only girl on the roster.

Her dad, Ron Harris said she started out playing in the recreation league in Florence County before she was old enough to play at school.

“When she finally gets to lock one and participate in the play, and do a good job, and then hearing her reaction of their faces when they realize it’s a girl who just laid them out,” he said.

She followed Lois Cook, a women’s professional tackler player for the DC Divas to know she watches her videos on Instagram and Tik Tok about being a girl and playing football, and that she too puts on her helmet and pads and gets on the field.

She sent her a message, never thinking she’d even get a response. But she did.

“She sent me her picture and told me that she played football! And I was like ‘where are you? I’m on the way,” Cook said.

A few messages back and forth and a six-hour drive later, Lois made it to Addie’s game. She said she just wanted to let her know she can do anything she sets her mind to, including playing football.

“If I can help or support one girl, then it’s all worth it. There’s a lot of debate sometimes with football if girls should play or if they shouldn’t play but they should know they are supported!” Cook said.

Cook said when she first started playing she was told she couldn’t, and is proud to see more girls start to enter the sport.

“Learning how to be a team player, and a leader and those are the very important things that we want girls that we can do this too and it’s not only about playing sports it’s about learning life lessons, that’s gonna keep you for a long long time,” Cook added.

Her mom, Samantha Fox said she couldn’t be any more proud of her daughter.

“I never thought I’d be here, watching my daughter play football while one cheerleads, but it’s the best thing ever. If that’s what they want to do, doesn’t matter if they’re a girl or a boy. You just show them, you can do anything,” Fox said.

“I wanted to prove a point to girls that it’s okay to play and it’s not just a boys sport. I don’t plan on stopping,” Addie said.

Addie said she’s already considering playing football long-term.

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