NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The scoreboard read 41-41. Norfolk Christian School just tied its barn-burner matchup with Hampton Roads Academy in the third overtime, with the extra point pending.
Whether or not the Ambassadors and Navigators played a fourth extra quarter depended on junior kicker Courtney Ballou. "I was so excited, because I was like, "Yes! I get this chance," remembered Ballou.
Wearing the number 33 jersey, and her long hair bunched up inside her helmet, Ballou walked out for the PAT try, her teammates giving her all their support. "All the guys were like, "Yeah Courtney! You got it! You got it! We got you! We're a family! We'll block you. No one's going to touch you."
The ball was snapped. A defender sprinted to the backfield, and stretched out for the block...it wasn't in time. Ballou's hands flew up before the kick even sailed through the goal post. "I was super-happy," said Ballou, a smile stretching from ear to ear, "Obviously, we just won the game, and it's just amazing."
The kick sealed the 42-41 win. Ballou's teammates rushed onto the field, fists clinched to the sky, while the home crowd celebrated the win. One of the first to congratulate Ballou on her game-winning extra point was her teammate Haley Ballou.
That's right. Not one, but two girls suit up for Norfolk Christian School, and one of them sent her teammates home with a 'W.'
"I love it," said Courtney, still grinning, "At the end of the game, we were walking in a line, and Haley was like, 'Put on your helmet.' I was like, 'No! They're going to know it was a girl who scored that!'
"I'm going to show them that girls can do this!"
Courtney and Haley, who share kicking duties, also play soccer, and who both cheered for football team a year ago, share a comradery with their teammates not unlike any other football team. "We don't really see them as girls, we see them as teammates," says Undrae Morrow, senior fullback and teammate who's known Courtney since the sixth grade.
There's no, well, 'She gets special treatment.' She doesn't want it. They don't want it," said Ambassadors' first-year head coach Curtis Turner, "They wear the uniforms like us, they run when we run, they do push-ups when we do push ups."
Pretty soon, they may even be putting other numbers on the stat sheet. "The crazy thing is, (Courtney) wants to run the ball too," said Turner with a chuckle, "She wants me to put in a fake punt so she can run."
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