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Girl excels, hits hard on football field

12:11 AM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
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"She's a girl, but she lets them know, she hits like a grown man," said Billy Parish, head coach of the Bear Creek Crush.

Haley is an 8th grader and the only girl playing in the all boys Midget Football League. Saturday night, Haley and her team, the Bear Creek Crush, played in the Carnation Bowl, the league championship game against Green Mountain.

If you ask Haley why she wants to play, there is one clear reason.

"I get to hit the boys," Haley said.

This girl gets right in the middle of the action. She plays linebacker on defense and offensive lineman on offense.

"I know man, that's my baby girl out there," said Matthew Abeyta, Haley's father. "Is that crazy or what?"

Haley's been playing football since 1st grade. She has two older brothers and her mother, Heather, says that's why she's is not intimidated on the field.

"She can hold her own. She's been playing too long," Heather Abeyta, Haley's mother said. "She's not scared." 

Coach Parish said Haley is one of the leaders of the team.

"Haley is just like one of the guys out here. She's a phenomenal player. We call her the first lady of the Crush," Parish said. "She's our queen bee and you want to get stung by her."

Matthew Abeyta said his daughter get his toughness from him.

"She actually wrestled the whole team one time. They kind of lined up and started picking on her," Matthew Abeyta said. "Of course, she knew some of the MMA (mixed martial arts) stuff. So, she started choking guys out one after another."

Heather said her husband is dreaming.

"Her dad's not athletic," Heather said.

Haley's biggest challenge may not be on the field, it may be before she even shows up for the game.

"Girls are capable of doing guy stuff, too," Haley said. "They shouldn't be discriminated."

Heather said being the only girl in the league is a character test for her daughter.

"I think it makes her try harder," Heather said. "She has to go out and show that she deserves to be there, she deserves her starting spot."

Her coaches say Haley has been recruited by some of the nation's top football camps.

"Haley's built like you want your son to be built in 8th grade. She's got a low center of gravity. She knows the game," Parish said.

"She definitely, since first grade, been one of the fastest kids I know."

Haley wants to take her game to the next level in high school and beyond.

"I want to be the first (woman) in the NFL or at least try," Haley said.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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