Football is traditionally a sport for men, it’s seen as a brotherhood.

But 13-year-old Oxford Middle School student Aniah Echols isn’t here for traditions, she’s just here to play.

"Getting to put my cleats on the field is the best thing,” said Echols.

Echols is not only the first girl to ever play football for the Chargers, but also the first to start.

And she's just as good, if not, better than the boys.

"She's not a kicker. She's not a person who plays every now and then, or a snapper that plays every now and then and doesn't get hit. She's our starting right tackle,” said Mike Hardwick, Oxford Middle School head football coach.

"When I’m on the line, my fire just, whew… it's lit. I do get a really good feeling when I get them on the ground,” said Echols.
"If you had to pin me down, she might be our best offensive lineman,” said Hardwick.

Echols’ journey to the gridiron started when she was 7 years old, playing backyard football with her cousins -- who were all boys.

That interest drove her to try out for organized football last Spring, and although there was a bit of learning curve, it's been smooth sailing since then.

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