High school athletes often wear many different hats. Acadiana High's Kelsey Latiolais takes it to a whole new level.
She's a 4.0 student. She takes duel-enrollment classes at Louisiana-Lafayette, and SLCC. She's the homecoming queen. She plays soccer on the Rams' varsity team. She volunteers as a youth soccer coach, and she plays football, her favorite
"You always hear about the movie of the girl being the football player. And I was always like 'mom, that's going to be me one day,'" Kelsey recalls.
As long as she can remember, the senior kicker always talked about playing football. In the spring of 2019, she decided to do something about it. The real question was, what position would she play? Kelsey's soccer background made one option more logical.
"I came out with the old quarterback, Keonte Williams (who graduated in 2020) and he said 'let's see,'" Kelsey recalled. "So we put the football down and he was like 'Okay, do it again.' Because I started making them and he was shocked that it was my first time kicking a football, and it's a lot different than kicking a soccer ball. And he said 'Do it again.' And I was like okay and I kept going and he said, 'we're going to coach.' I said 'Let's go.'"
Kelsey is one of several kickers for the Rams, but last year she became the school's first girl to play football in a game. Friday, in the Rams' 44-7 win over Covington she kicked an extra point, becoming the first girl to kick in an AHS playoff game.
"Beforehand one of the coaches told me: 'Let the other kickers know that you're next.' And I thought oh it's real now," she said.
In the rain, mud and slop Kelsey's kick split the uprights.
She has fallen in love with football. In fact, COVID protocols forced her to pick football or soccer this year. She chose football. She'll join the soccer team after the season.
Kelsey says girls have asked her about playing football. She says she loves inspiring them, like Sarah Fuller did for her last week. The Vanderbilt soccer player became the first women to play for a power five school Saturday.
"It really made me want to play college football more," she said. "To see that other people are doing it and it's no so unique in a way."
Kelsey doesn't get many opportunities on Friday nights but at each practice her kicks go farther and fly truer, and she wouldn't trade football for the the world.
"You can't really explain it unless you're living it," she said. "It's like being able to live a dream."
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