FREDERICK, Md. — Almost 400 girls are lacing up their cleats every Wednesday night in the fall and hitting the gridiron for the inaugural season of varsity girls flag football.
"We can do anything that boys can do," exclaimed Urbana High School senior and middle linebacker McKenna Gotlinger.
McKenna is part of the historic effort from Frederick County Public Schools, Under Armour and the Baltimore Ravens to launch this program - an idea years in the making.
"For girls to get a chance to make a difference and be pioneers in the sport - is super important to us," explained Adam Rudel, Senior Manager of Marketing for the Baltimore Ravens.
For the decision-makers at Frederick County Public Schools, this was a no-brainer.
"It means that we’re doing something right. It means that hopefully, we’re going to help these young women become better leaders, better moms in the future through the power of sport," said Kevin Kendro, Supervisor of Athletics at FCPS.
Urbana head coach Nick Damoulakis is confident that these girls are empowering themselves and others to build something bigger.
"Why is this not happening on Friday nights? Why is it boys football?" he asked. "I see a future where girls flag football and other girls sports are out there on Friday nights, playing with packed stands and that’s going to happen."
He thinks change is going to happen - not just on the field but off of it too.
"When we talk about a quarterback being in the pocket, we talk about standing tall and proud," he explained. "it’s about confidence and believing in yourself. The positivity, fighting for what’s right and you’re always going to be fighting for it."
Urbana did beat Middletown, 20-0, on opening night. But it's the number of supporters in the stands and on the sidelines that made it unforgettable.
"We did not expect this many people to come out and support this and being able to have the Ravens sponsor is so exciting, and we love that!" said Gotlinger.
"How proud am I?" asked Damoulakis. "I'm on cloud nine!"