Extra Effort: Abbey Kennedy blazes trail as first Middle Creek flag football QB

Extra Effort: Abbey Kennedy blazes trail as first Middle Creek flag football QB

Everyone at Middle Creek knew Abbey Kennedy had a leg, it turns out her arm had some untapped potential.

“I just like football, I don’t know how to explain it,” Kennedy said as she warmed up on the Middle Creek football field. Kennedy is a soccer star and captain for Middle Creek and lead the Mustangs to the third round of the state playoffs. She’s also run track and cross country.  This spring a new opportunity presented itself.

“I’ve always liked football, I watched it with my dad,” Kennedy said. “I used to play at the [YMCA] and I’d play indoor football.

So when she heard about an interest meeting for girls flag football she was one of the first to sign up. The Carolina Panthers offered a grant to schools in Wake County interested in starting flag football programs.

“We had probably forty to fifty girls come out to the interest meeting,” Jason Willix remembered.

Willix is Middle Creek’s offensive coordinator in the fall, when he heard about the initiative he told his athletic director he’d like to coach.

“I knew Abbey from indoor track and I knew when we had this team we needed speed, she’s one of the fastest girls in the school,” Willix said. “When she came out and threw a couple balls I was like ‘okay she’s done this before’.”

Abbey played like she practiced. Her combination of arm talent and speed helped make Middle Creek one of the best teams in the county.

“There’s a nuance in flag [football] where you’ve got like swivel moves and ways to avoid people grabbing your flag,” Willix described. “In our program we call it sauce, she had the most sauce out here.”

She had sauce, but she also had smarts. A 4.58 weighted GPA and future UNC Chapel Hill business student, Kennedy was also like a coach on the field.

“We’d call a play and she’d check and make sure everyone knew what they were doing,” Willix said. “She was able to do that because she actually knew what everyone was supposed to be doing.”

The Mustangs lost in the semi-finals to Wakefield, but Kennedy and the team knew blazing a trail for other girls to follow was the real victory.

“I hope I’m remembered for being a fun person to be around and paving the way for future people to play flag football,” Kennedy said.

“This is going to be so much bigger in five to ten years than it is right now,” Willix said. “To be a part of the first team at Middle Creek to be part of the first flag football season in Wake county on the eastern side of the state that’s pretty cool.”

Kennedy’s accomplishments in the classroom, community and athletics earned her WRAL’s Tom Suiter Extra Effort award.

“Every team she’s been a part of it’s show up early stay late,” Willix said. “She handled it very well, the pressure didn’t get to her at all. Big games, small games, winning losing, she stayed very level.

Source: highschoolot.com