Groom Cubs Football Phenomenon Eryka Kuntz


A new seventh grade football player ventures onto the painted turf in Groom, Texas. (Photo by Lexi Ritter)

When you think of football, you may imagine a bunch of junior high or high school boys preparing to make touchdowns, but this year, one player is defying those stereotypes. 

Eryka Kuntz, a seventh grader at Groom school, is the only girl on the junior high football team. 

“I’m playing for my brother, Leland, and I felt that I would excel at it,” Eryka said. “I’m nervous because I don’t know as much as the boys, but I feel I’ll come through.” 

Her coach, Tory Peet, has nothing but positive comments about Eryka’s decision to join the 2019-2020 Cubs team. “I think it’s great that she wants to play, ” Coach Peet said.  “I think that anyone who wants to play football should be given an opportunity, and if she’s willing to work hard, I think it’s great.”

Eryka’s family and friends are excited to see her play.  Her sister and fellow junior high student, Brandi Tipton, didn’t hesitate to express her joy for her younger sibling.  “I’m really happy because she’s showing how much she loves her brother,” Brandi said.  “I am really rooting for her this year.” 

Because she is a different gender, Eryka had to get permission to play.  She was ecstatic to find out that she would be on the team. “I was relieved and excited because I was worried that they wouldn’t let a girl play football,” she said. 

“She tackles harder than the rest of us,” fellow team member Gage Whatley said. The Groom Cubs will play against Claude this Thursday at home at 5:30pm.

Before running onto the practice field, Eryka left us with some lasting words for aspiring football players, “Drive your knees, and be better than you were yesterday.”