SPARTA – As far as statistics go, Highland senior Riley Kemmer is an anomaly.
Girls made up less than one percent of all high school football players in the U.S. last year, according to data from the National Federation of State High Schools Association. In Ohio, only 45 girls played high school football in 2018, according to OHSAA communications director Tim Stried. He predicts a similar number this year, out of the 39,000 that signed up.
Kemmer, the kicker for Highland’s varsity football team, has played for the last two years. She’s become one of the area’s top kickers, having made 19-of-21 extra points so far this season, along with a 23-yard field goal against East Knox.
Kemmer is a trailblazer – she won Homecoming Queen last week before nailing four extra points against Mount Gilead – and she says playing football has allowed her to grow tremendously over the last two years.
While Kemmer was nervous to come out for the team, she soon felt supported by the 40-plus boys on the roster. She lifts with some of the strongest players on the team, head coach Matt Jones said, and she is respected by all.
When it comes to breaking down barriers, Kemmer has a simple philosophy:
“They can’t tell you no… Just step out of your comfort zone and do it. You’ve gotta take chances.”
Knox Pages reporter Grant Pepper spoke with Kemmer and Jones this week about her decision to play football, what she’s learned over the last two years (and what her teammates have learned from her), and what kind of example she hopes to set for the young girls in her community.
Click below to watch this special edition of the Knox Pages Game of the Week:
» East Knox (7-0, 4-0) vs. Cardington (1-6, 1-3) | Bulldogs look to stay undefeated on Senior Night
» Northmor (6-1, 3-1) at Danville (2-5, 2-2) | Northmor heads to Tough Street to take on developing Blue Devils
» Centerburg (4-3, 2-2) vs. Highland (3-4, 3-1) | After slow start, Scots aim for fourth straight win at Centerburg
» Mount Gilead (2-5, 1-3) vs. Fredericktown (1-6, 0-4) | Freddies seek first conference win against Route 13 rival
» Mansfield Senior (7-0, 3-0) at Wooster (4-3, 4-0) | Conference unbeatens square off at Follis Field
» Mount Vernon (4-3, 1-2) vs. Madison Comprehensive (0-7, 0-3) | Yellow Jackets look to snap three-game losing streak on Homecoming Night
» Ashland (2-5, 2-1) vs. Lexington (2-5, 1-3) | After snapping five-game losing streak, Minutemen look to keep momentum going vs. Arrows
» West Holmes (2-5, 1-3) at West Branch (2-5) | Knights seek rebound win after disappointing loss to Lexington