MERIDIAN, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Many of you have heard of Kate Smith, the South Jones kicker that became a national sensation. But she isn't the only young lady on the gridiron this season.
"She kicked for our ninth grade team last year and I had to kind of persuade her to stay with it because she was really nervous about the high school thing," said Meridian Coach Larry Weems. "She is trying just to do something to contribute and help the guys be successful."
Coach Weems is talking about Kelly Bator, who grew up playing soccer and is a goalkeeper for the Lady Wildcats. However, Kelly saw football as opportunity to fine tune her craft even if that meant being the only girl.
"Being out here getting through the nerves and kicking it definitely helps when I step out on the soccer field," added Bator. "And I can be like, If I can handle getting in the ray under the lights, I can definitely handle a soccer game," said Kelly.
Kelly's transition has been as seamless as they come. She says the team has become her family, a program full of big brothers.
"They really are the most opening group of guys that you could have and we're all just like a family, so it really wasn't bad," said Kelly
Kelly's teammates are echoing the same sentiments, that even though Kelly is clearly a girl, to them she is just one of the guys.
"She is just like all the other players on the team," said kicker Terrell Thompson. "She is fun to hang around with and she has a very good personality.
"She's got a good work ethic, she wants to work hard," said kicking coach Chad Acton. "There is nothing she can't do if she puts her mind to it."
Many of you may be wondering what's next for Kelly. She plans to go back to her roots of soccer after high school competing for a scholarship. But until then she plans to enjoy every minute of it.