Gridiron girl: Knoxville-area school has first female football player


CORRYTON, Tenn. (WATE) – With her natural blonde hair, rosy cheeks and sweet demeanor Shaela Vogt resembles any other teenage girl ready to start her freshman year of high school. When she puts on her pink cleats, pads and helmet, she resembles any other high school football player, that’s because that’s what she is and what she’s been playing since the age of four.

“I went to my brother’s games and my dad asked me what sports I wanted to do so I said football and basketball,” Shaela Vogt said. “After I said football, he started working with me with it. I go to the games and he points out my position tells me what to do. When we’re at home he’ll set up cones and tell me which spot is which, which hole is which and go through it all like that. “

Like other pop warner players Vogt continued to play through middle school into tackle football. She didn’t have her heart set on quarterback or running back, instead she wanted to play where she was needed, she found a home at defensive end.

“I like it because you get to rip around people mainly get to tackle,” Vogt said.

When it came time for high school, Vogt was merely following the normal progression of an athlete when she decided to go out for the Gibbs High School Football Team. A natural next step, but also a historic one. No female had ever worn a powder blue jersey to play football for the Eagles before.

“We’ve never had a girl in the program and didn’t know what to expect,” Gibbs head coach Brad Turner explained. Didn’t know where to change. Didn’t know where I was going to put her.”

They quickly figured it out. Vogt gets dressed in the team room, or equipment room – she isn’t picky. The coaching staff also learned she’s not one for special attention.

“She’s here every workout she didn’t miss a workout all summer,” Turner said. “And really as we went on through the summer with workouts and fall camp, I didn’t even know their was a girl on the team because she just does her thing. “

In workouts, she rarely finishes last. During Tuesday’s half-mile team run her blonde ponytail could be found swinging in the middle of the pack. Turner knows the addition of Vogt to his roster has pushed his football team to work harder.

He also knows Vogt is a gateway to more girls on the field on fall Friday Nights.

“I got physical today of another girl wanting to come out and play,” Turner said. “So she’s obviously encouraging other girls to want to come out and do some things.”

“I think that girls can do it as well as guys, and if they really want to do they can be better than the guys,” she said.

Like many freshman, playing time won’t be handed to Vogt casually and that’s okay, she’s not afraid of a challenge.

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