The quiet place isn’t used to all this noise.
“It definitely is a big change, because we’re a tiny little town,” Junior Taylor Hoffman said.
Nederland County has a population of just about 1,500. Resting within the city in the mountains is a small high school gridiron, where big history is being made.
“It’s kind of cool to know that we are a part of something big,” Hoffman said. “It’s nice to get Nederland out there.”
So, what’s the reason for all the hype surrounding the 8-man football school? The Panthers are led by Beth Buglione, the first woman head coach in Colorado high school football history.
“I take immense pride in that,” Buglione said. “It’s a very special thing that I get to take with me the rest of my life. But, I’m much more proud of the fact that Boulder Valley school district looked past a gender and just saw a football coach.”
That’s exactly what she is. Buglione has been around the sport her whole life, and has done a lot more than just coach.
“In the year 2000, I saw an ad in the local newspaper that said there’s a women’s tackle football team forming,” Buglione said. “And, I couldn’t get to the tryout soon enough. So, I walked up to the practice and told the coach, ‘I want to be the quarterback.’ And, he said, ‘Is that right?’ And, I said, ‘that’s correct.’ And, I ended up being the quarterback of the team. ”
Buglione takes that same matter of fact approach with the Panthers. The players say she’s strict, but fun. And, on the sidelines on game day, she sure is animated.
“I describe myself as a pacer,” Buglione laughed. “I can’t hold still during the game.”
“She’s excited, passionate and always into the game,” Senior Aubrey Charlson said. “Coach B also takes the time to tell you when you’re doing something right. Even if you’re losing, she’ll tell you when you do something well.”
Her positivity is something every other player on the team appreciates as well. It’s been needed this season, as the Panthers are off to an 0-4 start in 2017.
Rest assured, the wins will come. For now, bigger things are happening at the school.
From playing to coaching, Buglione has changed the landscape for women in football in Colorado.
“When I see girls out there playing football, I’m so proud of them,” Buglione said. “Because, they’re not listening to people telling them girls don’t play football.”
“If you’re someone who is trying to get a job that’s non traditional, whatever it is, just go for it. Because, I took a chance. I applied here, and I got the job. And, I’ve had the best time with these kids.”
Although she won’t admit it, the significance of her position can’t be said enough. But now, Buglione just looks forward to a day where a woman coaching a football team garners zero attention at all.