Homecoming queen Claire Jeffress kicks game-winning field goal
Claire Jeffress has two wins this week.
Her first was being named homecoming queen for Dawson High School (Pearland, Texas). Her second was kicking the game-winning field goal Friday night to give the Eagles a 38-35 win over Pearland High School.
Let's rewind a bit, because this is a pretty big deal. Jeffress had been a perfect 5-for-5 in the game on PATs, and after Pearland drove downfield to tie the game with 4:14 left, Dawson responded by driving all the way to the Pearland 13. With 1:08 remaining in a 35-35 game, Jeffress drilled a 30-yard field goal on fourth-and-3 to give Dawson the win.
"Claire is something -- she just doesn't get rattled," Dawson coach Eric Wells told the Houston Chronicle's Ted Dunnam. "There wasn't even a question that she was going to kick it."
In fact, it wasn't her first game-winning kick this season. She kicked the go-ahead PAT late in the fourth quarter of Dawson's 14-13 win over George Ranch on Oct. 5.
Not bad for someone whose homecoming dress featured a football on it.
Jeffress told TMC News in January that she felt she had to prove herself to play with the boys, and so far she has. She started playing football as a seventh-grader, and she has been an integral member of the team ever since.
"I didn't want to make the team because I was a girl -- I didn't want it to be some special factor," she told TMC News. "I wanted to make it because I deserved to be on the team. They understood that."
She said she hopes to play soccer in college, but if that doesn't work out, perhaps she can continue kicking footballs. After all, she does have experience hitting 40-yarders in practice. And on the day she was crowned homecoming queen, she was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points as Dawson beat Brazoswood 51-16.
Then came Friday night.
She told The Chronicle that she has been able to block out the noise and focus on what she does best: kicking.
"I just wanted to do what I've always done and not think of it as any big deal," Jeffress told The Chronicle. "My team had faith in me, and they were going to block for me, and the snap and the hold were going to be good, so I just had to do my job."
Added Wells: "Homecoming queen knocks it through, Dawson wins. You have to love that."