Two girls playing football for Beavercreek

While the novelty of girls playing high school football has diminished over the years, Beavercreek has taken helmeted gender equity to the next level.

Freshman Marcella Cash has flawlessly handled the place-kicking, successfully converting all 21 extra-point attempts. Nothing extraordinary in that; she’s also a budding player on Beavercreek’s girls soccer team (11-2-3), which earned a No. 2 seed in the upcoming Division I sectional.

Cash isn’t the only female on the Beavers’ roster. There’s also senior Hannah Eberly. In a Week 6 game against visiting Springboro, both were on the field at the same time, which is thought to be a first at least in the history of the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

It happened on a kickoff, where Beavercreek routinely goes for an onside kick from Cash. This time she feigned a kick and instead Eberly, also a former soccer player and lined up next to her, whacked the ball. The play was nullified by penalty.

Coach Nic Black welcomed the girls to the team during the preseason. “They’re amazingly easy to coach,” he said.

Cash kicks with the football team at the beginning of practice, then joins the soccer team for its practice or game. She can routinely kick to the 7-10-yard lines, but Black often opts to bunt. “The onside kick is just a math thing,” he said. “We’ve been pretty good at it.”

Cash said initially it was “awkward and uncomfortable,” but that quickly changed as opposing teams began targeting her, starting with the first scrimmage in which she made a tackle.

She was leveled by a stiff-arm from Xenia’s Meechi Harris on his 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the season opener.

“My favorite video to watch is me taking the stiff-arm,” she said. “I was the last player there. I tried to run and catch him and all he did was stick his arm out and I was on the ground.”

The next week against Carroll two Patriots drove her into the turf after an extra-point kick. Teammates immediately responded.

“They were worried that I was OK,” she said. “When I went for the kickoff after that they all wanted to know what number are they? At first I was shocked and confused because it happened so quickly and the next thing I knew I was laying on the ground. I just laughed it off and got up because I know I can’t show any mercy on the football field.”

In last week’s blowout loss at undefeated Wayne “the guys said if they catch the ball and start running toward you just run out of the way,” she said.

Cash said she’s hit a 37-yard field goal in practice. She hopes to juggle both sports through her Beavercreek career and possibly in college, too. Her soccer teammates often hit her up to wear her various Beavercreek football jerseys. She hears them cheering for her during football games.

Cash said the best part of playing football is being accepted. “It’s just so much fun,” she said, “because they all treat me like I’m one of them.”

Beavercreek (4-3) hosts Springfield (5-2) today and Springboro (5-2) is at Lebanon (6-1) in what could decide the GWOC National West title.

• Alter (7-0) takes a 19-game win streak against struggling Badin (2-5) in a homecoming game at Fairmont today. The Knights overcame a 19-0 deficit to dodge Badin 27-22 last year.

“You get on one of these streaks and you wonder how it ever got to be 16, 17 years,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “I know they’ve had a good coaching staff over the years. Every year I mention Terry Malone and what he meant to football in southwest Ohio. It’s that legacy that their program’s been built on and I think you always have to respect that.”

Alter has been at its steam-rolling best, having rushed for 2,556 yards and outscoring opponents a combined 349-59. Its closest divisional game was a 56-13 blowout of Purcell Marian last week. For now that’s only good for No. 4 in the Division IV, Region 16 computer rankings.

• Carlisle’s (5-2) season comeback continues when Milton-Union (5-2) visits today. The Indians have won five straight following close losses to unbeaten Franklin and Miami Trace by identical 30-27 scores. Carlisle (4-0) owns a one-game lead over Milton (3-0) in the Southeastern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. A Carlisle win would ensure the Indians a share of the divisional title.

“We understand it’s a pretty important week for our conference, both of us being undefeated,” Carlisle coach Mike Brown said. “We talk about our goal being attainable and Milton-Union stands in the way of achieving our goals.”

• Former Bellbrook football coach Kevin Basinger was honored during last week’s homecoming game against visiting Franklin. Basinger led the Golden Eagles from 1997-2015, compiling a 119-80 record and winning five Southwestern Buckeye League divisional titles. He took six Bellbrook teams to the playoffs.

The honor was a surprise to Basinger and several former players — including former Ohio State and Miami Dolphins linebacker Austin Spitler — were in attendance. Basinger was introduced to the crowd along with current Bellbrook coach Jeff Jenkins, who played for Basinger, Spitler and athletic director Tom Bean.

Franklin had a notable alum of its own on the sideline: current Duke basketball player Luke Kennard, who guided the Wildcats to their last SWBL title in 2013 as quarterback. Franklin won 51-13.

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