Tackling barriers in high school football: Meet Brooke Musgrove

Sports

FLORENCE, Miss. (WJTV) — It’s not too often you hear about girls playing on football teams.

But for one girl at McLaurin high school, it was no snap decision. She’s been tackling barriers for years.

Brooke Musgrove is a lot like any other teenage girl living in a Mississippi small town, but everyone has their quirks.

“I just tried one day messing around and I realized I wasn’t too terrible at it,” Brooke said. “Our senior kicker at that moment, he was about to graduate, so I decided to try out to take his spot.”

Which went well! Brooke became the only girl player on McLaurin High School’s football team.

Initially, her teammates had a hard time warming up to the idea of training with a girl.

“You usually don’t see a girl on a football team,” Brooke said. “It’s a completely boys’ world. But after time they realized that I was really serious about this I was doing all the workouts with them. I was keeping up with them and they started taking me a lot more seriously.”

For Brooke’s parents, Mickey and Frankie Musgrove, they were not expecting it, but they were not surprised and they are proud.

“She’s played soccer since she was four and kinda joked around about it before,” Mickey said. “I thought she was joking but she came home one Monday and said ‘hey, I talked to the football coach’ and decided it wasn’t a joke anymore.”

“She’s just always been determined when she sets her mind to something,” Frankie said. “She’s just pretty much straight ahead.”

Sid Wheatley became the Tigers’ head coach in 2016, which was after Brooke had joined the team. Coaching a girl was a foreign concept to him, but he kept an open mind.

“I’ll be quite honest with you I had not coached a girl in football before,” Wheatley said. “So it was a different experience but the thing that I noticed right off the bat is that she was doing everything the guys were. We’re talking about flipping tires, bench press, squatting, everything like that so she immediately gained my respect with the work she put in.”

After coaching Brooke for three years, he encourages any young women interested in following Brooke’s footsteps to do so, but to know that they’ll have some big shoes to fill.

“If they’re capable of doing the job… and they wanna work and put in the amount of time like she does, absolutely,” Wheatley explained.

Brooke has a few parting words for any girl who is on the fence about playing football: “Just go for it, you never know if you can do it until you try!”

Each year, McLaurin gives their Scholar of the Year Award to an athlete who goes above and beyond in their studies and on the field.

Jeff Walker, the athletic director presented it to this years’ lucky winner, and it is no surprise that Brooke has been selected to receive the award this year.

Brooke will be attending Ole Miss next year, just like her father did years ago.

She is not sure whether she will pursue playing in college, but her love for this sport is one habit she’ll never kick.

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