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A freshman girl is starting as defensive end for Brewer High’s football team

For 14-year-old Karessa Anderson of Eddington, high school football games played under the lights are not merely a spectator event.

This ninth-grader is fully engaged in the activity each weekend from a hands-on perspective — as a starting defensive end for the Brewer High School football team.

Anderson is a rarity as both a freshman and female starter in a varsity sport where last fall only six girls were among the more than 3,000 high school football players in Maine, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Anderson doesn’t see her participation and starting role as a big deal, but game nights are a different story.

“You really get to understand what Friday night lights are like,” said Anderson, whose team plays Friday night at Brunswick in a Class B North quarterfinal. “Everyone tells you what it’s like to be part of it, but once you get in there you really feel it. It’s fun.”

Anderson wasn’t big into team sports as a youngster but eventually decided to try football at Holbrook School with the support of her parents, Kevin and Lisa Anderson.

Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Freshman Karessa Anderson of Eddington, is a starting defensive end for the Brewer High School football team.

“I used to play [football] with the boys at recess,” she said. “One day someone told me I was pretty good at it and that I should try out, so I did.”

Anderson didn’t get much playing time as a seventh-grader as she learned the basics, but by eighth grade she was a two-way starter at tight end and defensive end.

That fueled her interest in continuing the sport in high school.

“I did weightlifting all summer and I’d lifted tons before this, and I do Crossfit [a fitness regimen], too, so that really helped,” she said. “I just focused on being the best at what I could do, being the best at my position and hoping I could somehow get a starting position and just do my best for the team.”

Her participation in Brewer’s summer strength-training program introduced her to her high school teammates.

“She came out for preseason lifting so everyone who was lifting knew her,” said Brewer senior Damyan Greenlaw, a fellow player on the defensive line. “She fit right into the team perfectly when the season started.”

Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN
Freshman Karessa Anderson of Eddington, is a starting defensive end for the Brewer High School football team.

Next player up

Few freshmen, male or female, start in Maine Class B football. Anderson began the season on the Witches’ junior varsity squad.

But by Week 3 the varsity squad already had suffered several injuries and as Brewer played at Mt. Blue of Farmington, Anderson suddenly got sent into the game.

“If people get hurt it’s usually the next man up, but now it’s the next person up,” Brewer head coach Nick Arthers said. “We wouldn’t put her out there if we didn’t think she was capable …read more

Source:: Bangor Daily News

      

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