Her team didn't win a state crown, but Carly Gregory still made history on Friday night in Canton, Ohio.
In the course of a hard-fought, 21-14 Shawnee (Ohio) High loss to Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney School in the Ohio Division III state title game on Friday night, Gregory became the first girl in Ohio state history to score any points in a football state title game. Gregory connected on both of her extra-point attempts and also kicked off twice for the Braves, whose setback closed our their 2011 season with a final record of 14-1.
"I just can't even believe I got the opportunity," Gregory told the Springfield News-Sun. "The team was so amazing. It's ridiculous that we got this far, and so much hard work went into it. I got rewarded for it."
According to the News-Sun, Gregory became the second female player in a state title game in Ohio history once she kicked off, following in the footsteps of Holly Mangold, the younger sister of Jets offensive lineman Nick Mangold who started for Alter (Ohio) High in the 2008 Division IV final.
With Mangold playing on the line, no girl had ever had a realistic chance to score in a title game … until Friday. For that, Gregory said she was thankful to her teammates, who welcomed her with open arms during her sophomore season, when she emerged from thin air midway through the Braves' season to take over extra-point kicking duties.
"They were very welcoming," Gregory told the News-Sun. "It was very surprising. Most people would say 'Eww, not a girl kicker on the football team,' but they really took me with open arms. I felt a part of the team the whole time."
Like the rest of her teammates, Gregory said she was disappointed with how the team's season ended. Still, she could walk away with a sense of historic accomplishment … and a lot of sympathy for her teammates, who she admitted were suffering much more than she was in the aftermath of the loss.
"It's really hard," Gregory said, "but it's never truly been mine. It's theirs. It's so much harder for them. I'm hurting for them right now."
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