Long Beach Kicking Queen: Ashton Rupert leads the way as a four-sport athlete

Once every few years on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you watch a high school football game from behind the bench and see it: a ponytail sticks out from the back of a helmet.

This season is your typical Friday night in Long Beach and her name is Ashton Rupert, who says yes to the dress, and just about any other sports uniform she can get her hands on.

“I was trying on my helmet for the first time and I was as expected, let me take my hair off. And they were like, whoa, we’re not used to this. And then one time I think I was asking Coach Foreman like hey, do you have a ponytail and that just didn’t convince me that they weren’t going to have a ponytail. And they were like, no. I don’t have one, sorry.

Being the only girl on the high school football team certainly has a learning curve, but it’s nothing that a four-sport athlete like Ashton Rupert can’t find her way. “Last week the volleyball ended, so I would go from here to football practice, then leave at 3:10 pm football practice, go to volleyball and I then tried to go to college because I was the assistant coach of the college girls football team, so busy. Very busy.”

No rest for the tired, Ashton plays football, his first true love, volleyball, softball and now football for the Bearcats. “It was always, well, what if you got hit?” And I was like, then I got hit and I got up. Just like I’m pushed down in football, get back up. “

In the end, playing goalie made her the perfect candidate to win the starting kicker job. All it took was a little nudge from former assistant coach Doug Lucas. “I was doing a goal kick and I kicked it like 40 or 50 yards and he was like, why don’t you let me bring you here over lunch and show you how to shoot a goal on the field. Would you be interested in this? I was like, I don’t know. My father is not going to let me do it. He’s not going to let me do it.

Knowing what we know now, Ashton must have a pretty persuasive touch. Not only is she the starting kick, she’s the team’s only kick, good up to 35 yards on play with a long 50 practice. “I’m going to do a PAT and they all slap me on the head. I have to bend down a bit to avoid having a concussion. They hit me so hard.

Defensive end West Bourland said: “I don’t know how she’s doing either. Words cannot describe what she does between her sports, her extracurricular activities, her religion, her relationship with God. She does it all, and she’s really amazing.

Ashton got even busier last week, if at all possible, as one of the five main maids at Homecoming Court. Bottom and voila, she won the Reunion Queen, alongside the Reunion King and his teammate, West Bourland. “I never really thought I would be in these shoes, winning the Reunion King, and then my longtime teammate and friend would win the Reunion Queen. It was really great, spectacular and very special.

“Winning was fair – it was amazing. It was nice enough to be in my dress, I didn’t have to be in my uniform. And then they were like good, you have to get ready. was like, alright, let’s go. I ran into the locker room, my mom helped me undress and put on my soccer stuff, got out here, started warming up. Played in the Game.

Not only did Ashton play in the game, but she scored an extra point and took care of the kick-off duties. As fate willed it, that now makes her the second kick coached by Ryan Ross to win the Reunion Queen and score at least one point in a game on the same night.

In 2018, Kaylee Foster made national headlines for scoring the extra point winner against George County in overtime when he was the chief of Ocean Springs. Offensive Coordinator / Field Placement Unit Coach Lane Brady said: “Coach Ross, he came over and he told us all about this story and how cool that experience was for him and then Ashton comes out and kicks, and he kind of looks at us and says, well, now we have another kicker that’s a girl, and then the next thing you know, she’s in reunion court and he looked at us and said, it could happen again, and sure enough it happened, you know?

“Every time she would play and win the Reunion Queen and I would read a story and watch all of her videos and I was like, it’s awesome. It’s awesome. I wish it was me someday, and then it happened and now I’m like, oh wow. I’m sure there are other people saying it now. It’s amazing to sit down and love, wow. Look at all that God has done for me. He has truly been so faithful and amazing and it is all a blessing. It really is. “

Ashton says she wants to play football to the next level while majoring in education so that she can one day teach and coach.

If you’re wondering what Kaylee does, she’s now a junior football star at Mississippi College.

Long Beach hosts West Harrison on Friday.

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