Girl graces the gridiron in South Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Football fields across South Mississippi are typically dominated by males, but the gridiron at South Jones High School is receiving a female's perspective.

The football coaches at South Jones said choosing a female as the team kicker was an easy pick.

South Jones' Head Football Coach Corey Reynolds said, "When she came out she was a better kicker, period. She very much earned it."

Mary Kate Smith has been playing soccer since she was three years old, but she decided in her senior year that she wanted to tackle a new adventure.

"It's been crazy. It's almost like a mental game when you're out there," Smith said.

The coaches said that they scouted Smith because she is known as an athlete that has a lot of kick.

Smith tried out and made the team as a starter, becoming the first female player in the history of the program.

From the first practice Smith has consistently made 35 yard field-goals.

Smith said that overall it has been a challenge, but she is happy that she is contributing to the team.

According to Smith, the community has been very supportive and some even look up to her.

"I was running off the field and I had two little girls run up to me and hug my leg while saying 'I love you Mary Kate,'" Smith said.

Smith's teammates have been more than welcoming.

"I've had straight encouragement, you know, but of course that first little moment was awkward," Smith said.

Smith has committed to playing soccer for the University of Southern Mississippi after she graduates.

South Jones will be on the road for their next game against George County on Sept. 5.