Ever hear of a cheerleader who also played on the football team? If you haven't, meet Meaghan Murphy.
Meaghan, 17, is a senior at Lewiston-Porter High School who has risen above gender stereotypes. She has played soccer since seventh grade, but "this year I decided I didn't want to play soccer so I tried out for cheerleading," she said.
During the summer cheerleading practices, everything went as expected. That is until one day her cheerleading coach, Linda D'Anna, received a text message from her brother, Jon Hoover, the football team's special teams coach. Hoover heard of Meaghan's soccer ability and saw her potential as a kicker. He asked if Meaghan would be willing to join the squad.
"I was in shock. I didn't think he would want a girl to play for the team," Meaghan recalls.
She went to the practice, and the coaches watched her kick some field goals. They immediately recognized her talent. Meaghan was now a football player.
"It's actually pretty cool," she said. "There are no judgments. I am equal to the boys, and they treat me the same as everyone else."
They rely on her to get those extra points in a tight game. Meaghan said she too relies on them. "I wouldn't be doing anything; I wouldn't be able to kick if I didn't have the boys ... scoring the touchdowns."
At home games you can find her cheering on the sidelines, then changing uniforms to kick the field goal.
"It is not much more difficult playing two sports. It isn't as stressful as I thought it would be. My coaches understand the situation," Meaghan said.
Before the big Friday games, she devotes her time entirely to football. For other practices, she begins with football and ends with cheerleading.
She said she has learned from this whirlwind season.
"You can do anything; nothing is impossible," she said. "I didn't expect to be asked to play football, but you just got to go through it. I put in a lot of hard work to be able to play. Now I'm on the field with the boys."
Aman Shamaa is a junior at Clarence High School.