October 03, 2012 - Eight-year-old Ava Hernandez grabbed the handoff from Josh Buchmann and she ran a few yards into the endzone to score her first touchdown, Sept. 22.
Ava Hernandez gets ready for another game. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
"I got down and blasted through the hole," she smiled.
"I was speechless for awhile," said mom, Amy. "I cried. We are proud of her."
Not only did Ava boost the Clarkston Chiefs Freshman Gold team in their 30-7 win against Almont but it was the first touchdown for a girl in the Chiefs program.
Freshman Gold Head Coach Jeff Buchmann added the team loved it when Ava scored her touchdown.
"They did a great job of getting her there and helping her do it," he said. "It was a hard run right up the middle."
Ava grew up playing football in the backyard with her two older brothers. She played flag football for two years. Ava said she wanted to play touch football when the family went to pick up her brothers' equipment, uniform and gear for their Chiefs' season.
"Her dad was against it," said Amy. "It took some coercing to get on board. I told him we have never been hesistant with any of the kids. Her desire and drive to do this was so strong we had to let her do it. Lo and behold she is scoring a touchdown."
"It's fun," Ava said, adding her teammates are great.
"They are phenomenal," Amy said. "They support her. At one point she came to practice and she was teeter tottering about being in the program. It is a lot of hard work. The boys were like 'come on Ava, you can do this. We need you on the team.'"
Buchmann noticed the hesitation at the beginning of the season but Ava slowly grew out of it.
"It was confidence," he said. "Over the last couple of weeks she has really started to bring her athletic ability out here. She is just as fast or the fastest kid on the team and as athletic."
Ava is a second grader at Pine Knob Elementary and also played soccer.
She said she likes football more than soccer and it was more fun. She plays as a running back, is part of the kickoff team and is on the defensive line.
Her brothers help her with how to throw the ball better and how to tackle. They also cheer her on with their teammates.
The Chiefs Freshman Gold team takes on the Waterford Corsairs Green team this Saturday at Waterford Pierce Middle School, 11 a.m.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.