Kicker K-Lani Nava woke up Wednesday morning thinking about helping her team win a state title, not necessarily about the fact that she was about to become the first female to ever play in a Texas High School Football State Championship game.
Nava made history by simply stepping foot on the field as her Strawn Greyhounds beat the Balmorhea 78–42 at AT&T Stadium during the Class 1A Division II six-man game, but she made a name for herself by drilling nine of 10 extra points along the way.
“I had zero pressure,” Nava told TexasFootball.com. “I did think about it [the first kick] this morning, but when I got on the field and ready to kick, it didn’t cross my mind. All I worried about was the ball getting on the tee, and me making the right contact with it. I do my job. I know the snapper and my holder do their jobs. They do those jobs very well, and I trust them.”
Strawn’s K-Lani Nava just made Texas High School Football History kicking this extra point. She is believed to be the first female player in a UIL State championship football game. Awesome! pic.twitter.com/c63UWBrSmI
— Pete Christy (@pchristy11) December 20, 2017
Nava, a senior, was named the University Interscholastic League (UIL) MVP following her performance.
“Girls can do exactly what guys can do, and that’s what I proved,” she said in a post game interview.
Nava played soccer growing up, according to The Star Telegram, but quit in eighth grade to make time for her favorite sport, basketball. However, once she started her freshman year, she still wanted to use her booming right leg, so she tried out for the football team and beat out others in the kicking competition. She put in some major work to improve her kicking game, where in six-man football, extra points are worth two points and field goals are worth four.
It took a little time for teammates to get used to having a girl in the huddle, but now they don’t think twice.
“Strawn is a really close community,” teammate Ivan Ruiz told TexasFootball.com. “Lani has been a part of it forever. We rooted her on in basketball forever when she played, and she’s been a part of Strawn forever. She did good and worked hard like everyone else. She’s just another football player to us.”
Way to come up big and blaze a trail along the way, K-Lani Nava.