One of the Boys

Jacob Cobler and Daniel Vargas

Sonni Meyers

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The football team was in need of a kicker in early September. Varsity kicker Triston McCreight was out with a concussion. After winning only one of the nine games last season, the team was hoping to make a change, but the future was already looking bleak. Then, senior  Megan Nugent stepped in, making the change from manager to varsity kicker.

“Our kicker got hurt, so Coach Black told Hannah, his daughter, to tell me to bring my cleats to school and I thought she was kidding,” Nugent said. “But she was serious and he just told me to practice. I made the first one. Then I just kept making it.”

Nugent played in three games, successfully completing 15 of the 15 possible extra points and field goals she attempted.

“Everyone is just crazy and hype about it pretty much,” Nugent said. “I’ll have random people that I’ve barely talked to before congratulate me. It’s a lot of fun.”

Nugent played soccer since she was little and was a starting forward on the varsity soccer team last year.

“It’s pretty much just like kicking a soccer ball, so it’s in my nature,” Nugent said.

Nugent has always been an athlete, but she has never been one of the boys.

“It’s really scary seeing all those guys coming at you running, but you know the boys are going to protect you with all they have so there’s nothing too scary.”

Then, during a club soccer game, Nugent collided with a goalie. She tore both her ACL and her MCL. Nugent will be out for nine months and miss the entire high school soccer season, but will be back if given the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.

“When I found out, my stomach just dropped,” Nugent said. “It was honestly the worst news to hear. Being an athlete, that’s the worst thing to be told.”

After the injury, Nugent stood on the sidelines during games still wearing her jersey, remembering the transition from holding up play formations to becoming the starting place kicker.

“I wish I could be out with all the boys,” Nugent said. “I miss the celebrations after every point the most.”

After Nugent’s last game on Oct. 6, the team missed her presence as the kicker. As they made their way to the playoffs, every extra point mattered.

“She’s a go-getter,” Steimach said. “She didn’t care that other people were bigger and better than her: she still went out and played, that she could  ruined her soccer career.”

Nugent wasn’t the only one who made a change to the team this year. In order to improve  their record and team chemistry, a leadership team was created over the summer to prepare for the season. Senior Reid Steimach along with the 13 others set goals for the team last January to practice over the summer

“The leadership team has definitely set a standard like ‘this is what we have to do and this is how we should do it.” Steimach said. Last year we were just like ‘so where are we going, what are we trying to accomplish? When we already had goals set, it gave everybody a role to play.”

They won three more games than last year.

“This season way more fun,” Steimach said. “Winning makes everything more fun.”

The Cougars (4-4) headed into postseason play against Olathe South Falcons (3-5) on Oct. 28 at the South Shawnee Mission District Stadium.

The game ended in a 21-30 loss.

“It didn’t feel like it really was the last game,” senior Hayden Goodpaster said. “I’ve been playing for so long that it just didn’t seem like it was actually over. I was sad that my high school football career was over but also very thankful for all the opportunities it gave me and all the lessons I learned.”

Nationwide, 0.1 percent of football players are girls, according to Daily Press. Clearly, a girl playing football isn’t the norm, not even making up a full percent. Therefore, when senior Megan Nugent was unexpectedly recruited by coach Bo Black to kick for the NW football team, she was full of nerves. Especially moments before stepping onto the field for the first time.

“I was nervous, I don’t even remember it because I was so nervous,” Nugent said.

Lucky for Nugent, the boys quickly accepted the manager turned star kicker. The locker room became a sort of second home to Nugent. While obviously she couldn’t be in the room when the boys were changing for the game, after playing her first game, the boys immediately welcomed her into their space and flooded her with words of support.

“All they did was cheer me on,” Nugent said. “They were always really kind and even gave me a few pointers on kicking. They’re like big brothers to me.”

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected

 

Nationwide, 0.1 percent of football players are girls, according to Daily Press. Clearly, a girl playing football isn’t the norm, not even making up a full percent. Therefore, when senior Megan Nugent was unexpectedly recruited by coach Bo Black to kick for the NW football team, she was full of nerves. Especially moments before stepping onto the field for the first time.

“I was nervous, I don’t even remember it because I was so nervous,” Nugent said.

Lucky for Nugent, the boys quickly accepted the manager turned star kicker. The locker room became a sort of second home to Nugent. While obviously she couldn’t be in the room when the boys were changing for the game, after playing her first game, the boys immediately welcomed her into their space and flooded her with words of support.

“All they did was cheer me on,” Nugent said. “They were always really kind and even gave me a few pointers on kicking. They’re like big brothers to me.”