PORTLAND, Maine — Get to your local gridiron because the high school football season is underway!
Deering is taking on South Portland Friday night in a Class B battle between rival neighbors. You may notice some long hair peeking out from the helmet of a Rams linebacker. It belongs to Elizabeth Drelich, one of the few girls in Maine to tackle high school football.
"I wanted to try something new this year, so why not?" says Drelich.
She's never played football before, but that didn't stop her from wanting to join the team.
"We had our athletic open house. We were joking around about football and she's like, 'I'm going to play next year,'" says senior linebacker Michael Randall. "I was like, 'Really?' And she was like, 'Yeah, hold me to it.'"
It's still very early in the season so Elizabeth is spending a lot of time watching and learning the ins and outs of the game. It takes time and practice, but it helps that her teammates have her back.
"I think they've been really supportive" says Drelich. "I've never played football before so they're helping me with things like the A gap and the B gap when I line up as linebacker."
"She's holding her own," says Randall. "She's doing great. She can play. She's really, really tough."
Elizabeth has recorded two tackles in the Rams' preseason and hopes to contribute to a strong Deering defense. At 5'9", she's far from the tallest on the sidelines, but she uses her differences to her advantage.
"Just as in any new sport, you have to find what works for you, and that's what I've been trying to do," Drelich says.
She's forging her own path forward with a winning attitude.
"We want it to be a good experience and have fun, but come Friday night we want to win. We're not there for anything else," says Randall.
Whoever wants to help make that happen is welcome on the Deering team.