She traded her helmet for a crown and helped her team to victory. Meet Howard’s kicker

At halftime of the Howard Huskies game Friday night, kicker Elizabeth Rodenroth walked across the field in a football uniform and cleats to join girls in long dresses.

Standing with her dad, Donn, Rodenroth traded in her helmet for a homecoming queen crown.

“It was just weird to see that they were all dressed up, all the other girls in the court, and I was running across the field putting my hair up,” Rodenroth said. “I was shocked. I didn’t think I was going to win.”

The chance to be a homecoming queen was an unexpected surprise that she isn’t taking for granted.

“It felt really cool to know my school supports me with everything that I am doing, that they think highly enough of me to vote me homecoming queen,” she said. “In a way, it kind of brings people together. I just made a lot more friends through it.”

Rodenroth, the school’s first female player and now in her second season with the team, helped lead the Huskies to a 25-20 victory over Jackson as Howard moved to 4-1 on the season. In the game, she hit a pair of extra points and a field goal for a total of five points, the exact margin of victory. She said she is excited to be a part of a successful program.

Her head coach Paul Carroll, whose daughter was also on the homecoming court, decided to take in the moment despite being down at the half.

“I was really trying to think about how to stop Jackson and try to get a score to make sure we win the football game… But I did take a little time,” Carroll said. “We are all excited for her to be able to experience being a homecoming queen and being one of the players who made a lot of extra points that night to help us win the football game.”

Howard place kicker Elizabeth Rodenroth and her dad Donn react after Elizabeth was announced as homecoming queen at halftime of the Huskies’ game against Jackson Friday night. Jason Vorhees

Carroll added, “The biggest thing is this, one thing that we as coaches do is we are going to play the best 11. Our guys have taken her in and supported her...She is just one of the teammates.”

The Howard community as a whole showcased their love for Rodenroth by selecting her as the homecoming queen, Carroll said. That is one of the things he is most proud of.

While Rodenroth is the team’s top kicker on Friday nights, she also plays soccer and has committed to play for the Kennesaw State soccer team. This leads to a busy lifestyle but one that she enjoys: “It wears me down a little bit. It is just part of the grind.”

The senior kicker has continued to improve and has become one of the most consistent pieces on the team. Carroll said that before Rodenroth joined the team last season, kicking could be one of the team’s weaknesses. She is 55-of-57 on extra points and has missed just one field goal over her two years on the team.

Howard Husky Elizabeth Rodenroth kicks off against the Central Chargers. DONN RODENROTH Special to The Telegraph

“We had one of them that missed the ball on the tee. I know at the time we were worried about not being able to find anybody,” he said. “She was a lifesaver I guess you would say for us...This year she has been in the weight room with our guys. Her leg is getting a lot stronger.”

While Carroll loves to have Rodenroth as part of his team, he believes she is a great example of why it is okay to specialize in more than one sport.

“You need to have all your options open. She is doing that. She might have an opportunity to kick in college,” he said. “They might run into a situation where they might need somebody who can make an extra point every single time and she is one who can do it.”

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Justin Baxley is the fan life reporter at The Telegraph and writes stories centered around entertainment, food and sports in the Macon community. Justin joined the Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2017 with a degree in criminal justice and journalism. During his time at Mercer he served as the sports editor for The Cluster.