LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Like many high school football players, No. 14 on the Bear Creek freshman team has big dreams of playing in college and maybe someday in the NFL.
No. 14 hits hard and plays fast, but No. 14 is not like other high school players. That’s because No. 14 is a she.
From talking to Haley Abeyta you might think she’s a bit intimidated by her male peers.
“The boys are a lot bigger and faster and I have to adjust to that,” she told CBS4.
But it seems her opponents may have to adjust to her tackles. Abeyta has been playing linebacker for the Bear Creek High School team and this weekend she’s is moving to the defensive tackle position.
“She’s tough. She’s fast, she’s smart,” said her coach Val Madrid. “She’s very instictive as a football player.”
Madrid said he had been hearing about Abeyta for years before she joined his team.
“She’s earned the respect of the boys. It’s a non issue,” he said.
A CBS4 crew recently caught up with her in class and then attended one of her games.
“The bigger they are the harder they fall,” she said when asked about how big some of the players on the other team were.
She admitted to some pregame jitters before the game.
“I feel like I’m going to throw up but other than that I’m good,” she said.
Her teammate Dominic Encianas told CBS4 he and the other freshmen accept her and to some degree fear her.
“At first I didn’t think she could be part of the team but then she hit most of the kids on the team and knocked them out and I was kind of scared to go against her,” he said.
Haley’s mother was cheering her on during the game and there was one girl carrying a big sign saying “Go Haley – No. 14!” Her mom told CBS4 the last time her daughter wore a dress was when she was a little girl — at age 3.
“I think it’s pretty cool. She loves playing football. She loves the game. She knows what she needs to know about it. She’s not afraid,” she said.
After the game Abeyta said she wasn’t too worried about knocking some of the players on the other team down.
“They’ll get back up,” she said.
Abeyta says there’s currently no end in sight for her when it comes to her football future.
“I’ll go until I can’t go anymore,” she said.