Female kicker becoming celebrity on Arizona football team

Female kicker becoming celebrity on Arizona football team

Football

Female kicker becoming celebrity on Arizona football team

Two little girls in Nogales lead the Maile Vasquez Fan Club.

They’ve made T-shirts of Vasquez, Nogales (Ariz.) High School’s junior kicker. A picture of Vasquez with the two girls is on the front. The back has her last name and number. They wear it proudly for every Apaches game.

Then, they watch her make history.

In Nogales’ last game, a 45-0 win over Tucson Catalina, Vasquez, it is believed, entered the Arizona high school record book for most extra points (six) by a female kicker in a football game.

Her six points, it is believed, tied former Chandler Basha kicker Becca Longo for most points scored by a female in an Arizona high school football game. Longo made a field goal and three extra points in a game for Basha during her senior season in 2016.

Longo’s celebrity took off after she signed a national letter of intent with Adams State in April 2017. She became a national story, after it was believed she made history by becoming the first female to sign a letter of intent with an NCAA Division I or II football team.

“I think it’s pretty cool that I’m setting records,” Vasquez said. “I heard of (Longo). I would look at her video and go, ‘Dang.’ To get compared to her, it’s a cool feeling.”

Nogales coach Jake Teyechea said that Vasquez approached him in March about trying to earn a spot on the football team.

She started working with the team in the weight room and on the field. A defender on the girls soccer team, her kicks were impressive. She beat out two other players for the job to kick extra points and short field goals this football season, Teyechea said.

“She’s tough as nails,” Teyechea said. “The guys make sure she is taken care of. Nobody takes it easy on her. She does the sprints, the workouts. Not once has she complained.”

Vasquez, whose first name is pronounced “My-lee,” came out for football for the first time after it began as a joke from a friend.

“I was iffy about it,” Vasquez said. “I wanted to try it and I went for it.

“My friends never doubted me at all. I love my team so much. The other players motivate me every single day. I just have to be prepared for PATs. On the sideline, my teammates are going, ‘Let’s go, Maile.’ They’re always cheering for me.”

Vasquez, a 5-3, 135-pound junior, has made 9 of 10 extra points in three games. She said her biggest concern was getting under the ball enough to get it to project upwards over the crossbar.

“My accuracy is good,” she said. “It’s just a matter of getting the height and extra power.”

She will see if she can become the next female football player from Arizona to earn a D. I or II college offer.

“If I would ever to get an offer, that would be cool,” Vasquez said.

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Female kicker becoming celebrity on Arizona football team
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