‘Just one of the guys’

Published 9:34 am Friday, September 21, 2012

Emily Lehman, 11, gets in a three-point stance during practice for the Boykins Bulldogs B team. -- Dale Liesch | Tidewater News

BOYKINS—Emily Lehman can’t stand to watch football on television.

The 11-year-old Boykins girl would much rather hit the field.

“It makes me bored because I can’t get in there,” Emily said.

The 4-foot-8-inch, 110-pound Southampton Middle School student will start on the offensive line for the Boykins Bulldogs B team this year. She is the first girl in more than a decade to play for the team.

“They say women can do everything men can do and this is proof,” said her coach, Delonte Grooms.

Grooms described Emily, who’s in her second year with the Bulldogs, as just one of the guys. He praised her work ethic and said she could probably play for the A team next year.

“She’s one of the most aggressive players I have,” he said. “She’s got good football knowledge. If she wants to play and keeps the same work ethic she has, I don’t see any reason why not.”

The daughter of Amy and Eric Lehman, Emily has wanted to play football since she watched the movie “Little Giants,” about a girl cut from a boys’ peewee football team despite being one of its best players.

Emily found out about Bulldogs tryouts last year and signed up.

“I’ve always told her she can do whatever she wants to do,” said Emily’s mother, Amy Lehman.

Emily also plays trombone in the school band and is a member of Girl Scout Troop 5073 in Boykins.

“Other than playing football, she loves science and learning,” Lehman said.