HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Shoulder pads and helmets, loud sidelines and, of course, tackling.
Saturday had all the signs of a fall Friday night in the Pine Belt – the only difference was the all-female cast that took to San Antonio Field in Hattiesburg. It was the Mississippi Royalty, representing as the state's first female football team in the Women's Football Alliance.
"Mississippi Royalty? We're about head-knocking and highlight-making," said Royalty's head coach Anthony Dunn. "That's what we do."
"It's truly, truly awesome, especially for women," said Royalty owner Tyree Brown. "We're actually unifying our community. We're a diverse organization. It's awesome just to be here in the great state of Mississippi."
"It's amazing," said Royalty sponsor Angie Terry. "[Brown] came into my office and the first day I had no doubt. I didn't know her from Adam and she walked in there. It's just been phenomenal ever since. I'm so excited to be part of it."
The Royalty joined the WFA this year to become one of 65 teams across the country.
Mississippi has skipped the learning curve. Following Saturday's 42-12 win over the Music City Mizfits, the Royalty (6-1) advanced to the second round of the playoffs – to be played in Hattiesburg on June 30. The group is aiming toward making a trip to Atlanta on July 27 for the national championship.
However, what's been more significant than the team's success is how a group of women – ages 18 to 49 – came together to tackle the odds.
"The slogan that we have is, 'against all odds,'" Brown said. "This has never happened here in the state of Mississippi."
"It's really more so of a blessing than anything," Dunn said. "To be around and to be able to lead some of the females, hear some of their struggles and see that they can release a lot of pain on the field and enjoy it at the same time. Their sisterhood has become one of the main keys."
"We're definitely making history," said Royalty safety and team captain Dana Chapman. "We never thought that we would get this far but because we have, we're keeping it going and we know that this year is the year of the woman. We're making big moves and we're glad to be here in Hattiesburg doing it for the state of Mississippi."