The Northeast High School (Pasadena, Md.) football team went 7-4 last year, but the Eagles had one problem in particular: field goal kicking.
Before the 2019 season, head coach Brian Baublitz discovered his team's kicking woes could be solved by Kayla Alexander, who Baublitz soon learned was a special young woman on and off the gridiron.
"From the first day I saw Kayla kick, I was like, 'Wow, this could be our answer,'" Baublitz said on
Glenn Clark Radio
More interested in soccer than anything else, Alexander, 16, never saw football in her future until recently. She and her family would always joke about kicking for her high school team, but she never believed that anything would come of it. Then she started kicking.
"She's exceeded our expectations," Baublitz said, "because she's pretty consistent 37 yards and in, so we got a little more bang for our buck than we were expecting."
Facing new expectations and a new environment, Alexander was nervous to start the season. The adjustments she needed to make weighed on her, but the support of her coaches and teammates helped her through the transition and allowed her ability to shine.
"The coaches and all of my teammates have really accepted me and always support me," Alexander said.
She was even met with a welcome-to-high-school-football moment in her first game that would soon define the type of player she has the potential to become. On the first kickoff of the season, she was hit hard, and Baublitz remembers seeing the fury in her eyes as she dusted herself off -- the first sign that the sport was a good fit for her.
"Being able to get the mental toughness of knowing that you're on the sideline with all of these guys," Alexander said of what she's gotten from the game. "... Trying to get that mental toughness through this process is something that will truly help me in the future with any given situation."
Kayla's mother, Angie, views her daughter's involvement in football as nothing more than joining in on family tradition.
"Kayla has two older brothers, so we grew up in a football family," Angie said. "We grew up with them playing youth league, we've been in the stadium watching the football games. So this is just a continuation of the Alexander family tradition."
Kayla Alexander joins other notable names like Samantha Gordon, Toni Harris, Carli Lloyd, Julia Knapp and others in the pursuit of proving that women have a place on the gridiron. Alexander has a strong belief that girls playing football should no longer be a rarity.
"People think that girls can't do the same things that guys can do," Alexander said. "... I truly believe that if they have the talent and the will to do it, they can do it."
Although Alexander is looking to pursue soccer in college, for now she wants to continue to prove people wrong. Her coach has her back every step of the way.
"Let me tell you something," Baublitz said. "This young lady is as strong as any male we have on this football team."
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Northeast High School
For more from Alexander and Baublitz, listen here: