Portland teenager becomes first female player in school’s history

(Courtesy: Kimberly Lyle Ladd)

PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) – Portland High School took the field Friday night, for a homecoming battle against Macon County.

But their kicker is the first of her kind at the school after an unlikely trip from the pitch, to the gridiron.

Friday was Camrin Lyle’s 18th birthday, a year filled with firsts after she became the first female player in Portland High history.

Before her time with the pigskin, Camrin was a midfielder on the soccer team with a knack for launching the ball.

“So I make crosses, my ball needs to go up in the air anyway,” she explained. “When I took shots, they would always go over the goal.”

Over the goal, and sometimes incidentally through the goalposts on the school’s practice field, so Coach Ryan Goostree had an idea.

“Camrin was really bad at shanking balls over the goal,” said Goostree. “So I said you know, you should try out to be the kicker.”

Coach Goostree caught up with head football coach, Greg Cavanah, who later invited Camrin to practice.

“I said I’ll tell you what, during spring ball come see me, I’ll give you a couple balls, you see how you like kicking the football, we’ll see how it goes from there,” he added.

From there, Camrin was given a roster spot as the field goal/PAT kicker.

Her name’s now blasted on the loud speaker every Friday night.

“They were like ‘Ms. Camrin Lyle’, and I was like oh gosh the other team, they know I’m a girl,” Lyle said. “I feel like they’re gonna hit me now just because I’m a girl.”

At every game this season, the stands have been filled with Panther fans, and Camrin fans.

For Coach Cavanah, she’s just number 19.

(Courtesy: Kimberly Lyle Ladd)

“It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s male or female,” said Cavanah. “If they can kick it through that up right, that’s the important thing.”

But for Camrin’s smallest fans, she’s much more.

“I love to see little girls at football games, their parents came to bring their parents to see me,” said Lyles. “Show them that girls can do anything. I just like that feeling.”

After graduating in the spring, Camrin plans to attend UT Martin to be an athletic trainer.