It’s been a big week for high school senior Claire Jeffress. First, she was named homecoming queen, then she nailed a 30-yard game-winning field goal for Dawson High School in Pearland, Texas.
The game was tied 35-35 with 1:08 remaining when Jeffress drilled the big kick to lift her team to a 4-2 record on the season. Not only that, but she was perfect on all five extra point attempts.
“I just wanted to do what I’ve always done and not think of it as any big deal,” she told The Houston Chronicle after the game. “My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job.”
The game winner! pic.twitter.com/8Grl3qI0Vm
— Dawson Eagles (@DawsonHighSchl) October 21, 2017
— Coach Steven Kenney (@coach_kenney) October 21, 2017
According to TMC News in January, Jeffress began playing football in seventh grade when her school’s team needed a kicker. She had played soccer since she was 4 years old, so when the football coach asked her to try out, she laced up her volleyball shoes and performed well enough to earn a roster spot. And, she hasn’t looked back since.
“At the beginning, I did have to push a little hard to prove myself, but I always asked the coaches to look at me like any other person,” she said. “I didn’t want to make the team because I was a girl—I didn’t want it to be some special factor. I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that.”
Many of those boys she started playing with are the same ones on her high school team, so there haven’t been any teammates who have expressed their concern with having a female on the team.
“I like knowing they are my brothers,” Jeffress said. “I have met my best friends on the football team.”
Jeffress hopes to be kicking in college, too, though not kicking a football. She’s working to earn a college scholarship for soccer — another true passion.
Until then, she’ll wear a tiara and dress with a football on it at the dance, and she’ll keep drilling those field goals for her team. It’s a queen’s duty, after all.