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In her first season of playing organized tackle football, Angleton Junior High seventh-grader Erin Carter started on the A team at safety and fullback.

Tackle football is mostly reserved for boys, but don’t tell that to Angleton seventh-grader Erin Carter, who tried out for the team and made it.

She had never played the sport, but had watched it on TV with her father, Aaron Carter. And she knew she could succeed.

“We didn’t want her to look back and say that she didn’t try,” Aaron Carter said. “And we didn’t want to hold her back on not trying, so we allowed her to go ahead.”

After attending a youth summer football camp in Angleton, Carter stood out, according to seventh-grade A team coach Marshall Hemond.

“She showed a desire to want to play football, and we were more than happy to have her come out and participate with us,” Hemond said. “I was impressed with the way she moved and the effort she gave. She was really trying to learn as much as she could and take the coaching and get better.”

After going through the tryouts once school was back in session, Erin Carter not only made the seventh-grade team, she made the A team.

“She was able to pick up on the terminology and just had a toughness about her with her physical abilities,” Hemond said. “She was able to run and did a good job of picking up the system even though it was her first year, and go out and perform at a high level.”

Carter was ecstatic that she not only made the team but was considered one of its tougher players.

“I just wanted to try it and thought I would be good at it,” she said. “In that first game it was a good feeling, and I wasn’t really nervous because I knew I was going to do good.”

For her parents, it was an awesome experience watching her.

“Going to her first game, watching her play A team seventh-grade football and play every play in the first half, we were just so proud of her,” Aaron Carter said. “At one p oint during the first half I was chasing down our 1-year-old down the stands and some of the fans in the stands were saying, ‘Hey that No. 32 is a girl playing football.’ It just made me proud.”

Erin Carter played impact positions as a free safety and fullback.

“Through our workouts we determined that her footwork was enough for us to consider her a secondary player,” Hemond said. “In our program it is necessary for our players to not only learn one position but two. So since she was a safety, we tried her at fullback and just through drills and her toughness, she was able to withstand the rigors of playing those positions.

“As time went on, it became clear that she had the necessary skills to be a starter for us.”

Whether making tackles or running through someone with the ball, Carter turned some heads.

“It was funny, because the boys would freak out and realize that I was a girl,” she said.

Unfortunately, after playing three games and a scrimmage with the seventh-grade A team, Carter’s season came to an end last week. While trying out for linebacker, someone landed on her foot and she tore two ligaments. After surgery, her season was over.

“I fully expect her to show up next season,” Hemond said. “But even now while she is in a tough spot, she’s already volunteered to come to the home games and help us give out water to the boys during timeouts. One has to be passionate about what they do, and she’s certainly gotten passionate about it.”

Erin Carter knows that right after she heals, she will go out for the basketball team. Then it will be back to the grind on the gridiron.

“Oh, I am playing next year as well,” she said.

Joel Luna is sports editor for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0160 or at joel.luna@thefacts.com.

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