Elizabeth Kennedy: Making History in Mississippi
Elizabeth Kennedy is a 7th grade wide receiver and running back who also plays multiple positions on defense. Elizabeth is making history as the first female to play tackle football at her private school in Meridian, Mississippi. She is a multi-sport athlete, also competing in cross country, basketball, and track. Football stands out as Elizabeth’s passion.
Born into a football family, Elizabeth’s strength and speed have been evident since she was young. Her father is a high school football coach who also coaches the 7th grade team of Elizabeth and her brother. She started playing football when she was five years old, following her older brothers in their love for the game. When she first began playing and she got the ball, she would slow her pace to allow the defense to catch her tempo, before speeding up to score her touchdown. Through her time in football, Elizabeth has now grown in her confidence and learned to embrace her gift of quickness.
Elizabeth has battled to earn her place on the field. As the only girl on the team, Elizabeth has dealt with some criticism from the boys and even bad sportsmanship from opposing teams. She has heard that she did not belong and that she only played to wear the jersey or because she was the coach’s daughter. After an opponent grabbed and pulled her by her long hair, Elizabeth started keeping her hair braided and up. When competitors purposely tried to injure her, she got back up, reset, and dominated in the next series. The solid support system of her family motivates her during times when she feels like she can’t continue. Elizabeth is resilient and determined to keep playing the game she loves.
Elizabeth enjoys her opportunities to play defense and welcomes the aggressiveness of the game. Her mother, Stephanie, shared, “For the last three years she has been the hardest hitter on the team. This is the first year she did Oklahoma’s with the 9th graders and to make her prove herself, they put her against a 9th grader on the first time up. Elizabeth laid that poor kid out. From that point on, she earned the respect from all the boys.”
Elizabeth with the big play!
In 2017, Elizabeth’s team made it to the finals. In 2019, they advanced to the Super Bowl and she was named Athlete of the Week for the local Meridian area. Elizabeth’s football career is just getting started. She wants to play the game she is passionate about for as long as she can. Football has been an outlet for her to shine in her skills. As she overcomes adversity through her dedication to football, Elizabeth inspires others to follow their dreams.