Berkley Loper is number 51 for the seventh grade football team at Brink Junior High School. She’s the starting center, often taking on boys twice her size.
“We’ve always talked about how rough and tumble she is and talked about how she needed to play rugby,” said Jeanie Loper, Berkley’s mother.
After watching her older brother play football, Berkley knew what she wanted to do, but her parents signed her up for t-ball.
“We always joked about her playing football because she used to love it whenever she was running from first to second base, and the player would be in the baseline so that she had to run right through them,” said Jeanie.
According to her football coach, that aggressiveness has never gone away.
“She does like contact. She likes the physical aspect of it, and I think that’s why she wants to play offensive line and defensive line. She’s not afraid to go hit somebody,” said Patrick McKay, Brink’s seventh grade head football coach.
But coach McKay admits, initially he did have his doubts.
“To be honest with you, I had low expectations, and that’s a fault of my own. But after two or three days of summer pride I was like okay yeah, she’s got it going on,” said McKay.
This is Berkley’s second year playing football. What did Jeanie think when her daughter decided to play football?
“I quite honestly thought, ‘That’s Berkley,’” said Jeanie.
Berkley has earned the respect of her team, through her work ethic and never complain attitude.
“She’s not a girl on the football team, she’s a football player, and so to the team, she’s just one of the players,” said McKay.
Berkley doesn’t put much thought into where things go from here if she’s going to play in college or even high school. Right now, she’s just having fun playing the game she loves.