Rudy who? Ironton youth makes mark

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

For 12-year-old Timmaya Taylor, five years of pad-pounding punishment was washed away with three simple words: 31 End Around.

The Ironton youth had waited a long time to hear her number called and she intended to make it count.

You see, Timmaya, daughter of Candy Carlisle and Marshall Taylor, is a normal sixth-grader. But Timmaya is more interested in blocking assignments and running lanes than dolls or dresses. For five years, she has played in the Teen Ohio Valley Conference one of the few female athletes who has taken the field over the years.

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"Someone said to me, 'She'll get hurt. She's a girl,'" mother Candy said.

"I told them, 'They are boys and they get hurt too. It is part of the game.'"

For Timmaya it was about showing she is just as tough and can compete.

"I just wanted to do it to be with my friends," she said. "Just to have fun."

Excelling on the offensive and defensive lines, Timmaya had never touched the ball on offense until that Oct. 16 day that will now live forever in the family's memories.

It was a cool day fall when Timmaya's Ironton Eagles A team faced off against Sciotoville East in the final game of the 2004 season. On the first play of the third quarter, Timmaya heard those magic words: 31 End Around.

She lined up on the end of the offensive line, the play was faked elsewhere, and then, for the first time in five years worth of games, Timmaya had the ball in her hands.

She knew exactly what to do.

Never letting up, she turned on the jets she always knew she had and made it to the corner with a convoy of blockers out in front.

"Every guy we had wanted to block for her. They wanted to see her score," said coach B.J. Hannon. "The crowd was really excited."

With only open field in front of her, Timmaya darted down the sideline and dashed into the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown on her first carry. The majority of the Sciotoville players and fans were unaware what had just happened.

Timmaya knew though. Her thoughts were dominated by the $10 she had just earned from an impromptu bet with her mother.

"It was all I could think about," she said of her "prize money" that went a long ways at a Gattiland party.

For mom, $10 was nothing to pay to see her daughter create a priceless memory.

"I was up and screaming," Candy said, with the pride still beaming. "I never screamed so hard and so loud in all my life."

As far as Hannon knows, Timmaya may have made a bit of history.

"I really think she is the only girl who ever scored in our league," the coach of nearly 45 years said. "We have had several girls play in the league but many of them don't touch the ball."

The Ironton Eagles finished with a record of 8-2, losing in the Super Bowl.

Timmaya's days of youth league football are over and she will soon have to decide if she wants to continue to seek gridiron glory.

"I love it and I just don't want to give up on it," she said. "The boys don't want me to give up on it. I have been playing with them for five years. They want me to keep playing."

Though she said she will always remember that one play, Timmaya may be looking at creating some new memories.