Smartt is Western Albemarle's 'Miss Reliable'

CROZET, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Life as a kicker is waiting and practicing until your team needs you most, whether it is a field goal or just an extra point.

"Extra points are a huge part of the game," Western Albemarle quarterback/holder Carter Shifflett said, "Every point matters in this sport, especially when you're trying to win games, she's played a big part of this year, I don't think she's missed an extra point."

She is Western Albemarle kicker Ellie Smartt, just a girl kicking it with the boys.

"Hearing my name over the announcements after PATs still shocks me and I'm sure a lot of people in the crowd are shocked too," Smartt said.

Smartt's path to football started just before high school and even after a friend dropped out before the first practice arrived, Smartt stuck with it.

"I decided to give it a shot, I don't even really know why," Smartt said, "But I guess it was just because my whole life I've loved sports and with high school coming up I just wanted to try something new."

Like most Ellie started on JV, even making an agreement with her parents and coaches to run out of bounds on kickoffs. But a summer of work put her in prime position this year to kick extra points on varsity.

"She's not out there just for show, she's out there because she's a good kicker," Warriors' special teams coach Robert Crickenberger said, "And we trust her every time she goes out there to kick those PATs."

It is in those pressure packed situations where Ellie's true skill shines.

"The crowd cheering and stuff, but then of course when I'm actually kicking, I kind of zone everything out," Smartt said.

"Her mental toughness, I mean the skills aside, she's stuck with everything that everybody's done and if there was anybody out there doubting her, she's proved everybody wrong," Crickenberger said.

Those doubters never existed on the team because they see firsthand the work Smartt has put in.

"She deserves it, she works hard and she makes big plays for us and we're all just really proud of her because it's maybe not the easiest thing for somebody to do, but she's taken it on head strong," Shifflett said.

While inspiring others was never her motivation, Ellie continues to kick for herself and others.

"Just to know people are looking up to me," Smartt said, "But it's something I love to do and I don't really think about it that way and it just makes me feel good and want to keep doing it."



 
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