13-year-old girl earns spot on middle school football team as linebacker

A 13-year-old Texas girl has earned a spot on her middle school football team as a linebacker two years after coaches told her it would be impossible.

"They're like, 'No way, you're going to get yourself run over,'" Paige Smith, an eighth grader at Gladewater Middle School, told KETK-TV. "And all of a sudden I'm running them over."

Smith, whose twin sister, Grace, is a cheerleader, showed up to camp and impressed the coaches.

"This is my 24th year coaching and I've never had a girl play," Gladewater coach Scott Clower said.

Smith said she told her teammates not to go easy on her and "hit me as hard as they can because I'm just going to do the same to them."

Playing high school and college football is not too unusual for girls. What's unusual about Smith is her position.

"She's not a punter, she's not a kicker — she's a linebacker," Rhonda Smith, Paige's mother, said. "My daughter is a linebacker."

Smith had a tackle in her first game.

"I felt kind of good tackling him because he was twice my size," she said. "It shows me I can do anything I please or what I want without anyone stopping me."

Smtih added that she is determined to play high school football.

"Don't let anyone bring you down," she said. "They're just going to try to intimidate you, they're going to say all of these things, but once you get the hang of it, you're going to be running them over and they ain't gonna be running you over."

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