Hopewell senior kicker Kylie Jackson made school history last Friday when she made an extra point in the Blue Devils' season-opening 35-13 win over I.C. Norcom (Portsmouth), becoming the program's first girl to score in a varsity football game.
This is Jackson's first year with the team. Blue Devils coach Ricky Irby said Jackson approached him before the season to ask about the possibility of her kicking. She's also a soccer player for the Blue Devils, so Irby invited her out to practice.
"She works really hard, she's out there every day and a lot of the stuff she does on her own working on her kicking," Irby said, adding that Jackson had never kicked a field goal or extra point before this season.
"We're proud of her. Everybody was excited."
The No. 7 Blue Devils had a number of players go into quarantine at the outset of the season, resulting in the postponement of the scheduled opener against No. 6 Varina (1-0). Irby said his team was thrilled to finally take the field last week.
"It was awesome," Irby said. "It's been tough."
Irby added that his program has had to "get creative" and adjust the way it practices to avoid any further postponements.
"Because a positive COVID case isn't going to shut the whole team down. What's going to shut the whole team down is the contract tracing," Irby said.
"So we have really limited our practice time and the amount of time we're around each other so that our kids are not really in close contact so that if something does happen, the whole team doesn't have to quarantine. That's what we've focused on the last few weeks, is trying to make sure we practice in a way that we can keep everybody separated and socially distant. And that's really tough."
Against Norcom, Hopewell quarterback Mason Cumbie completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 147 yards and three touchdowns while adding eight carries for 55 yards. The Blue Devils play Henrico (0-1) Friday, and the Varina game has been rescheduled for Oct. 5.