Taylor Tidaback was a standout last Friday night as she was crowned homecoming queen of Villa Rica High School.
Tidaback, 16, was the only queen candidate in a football uniform during the halftime coronation at the school’s homecoming game. She’s the kicker for the Villa Rica Wildcats.
“When they called my name, my mouth just dropped,” said Tidaback. “I’ve always wanted to be on senior court since I was a freshman.”
Tidaback stood proudly in her football uniform among six other senior girls in formal dresses, escorted by the important men in their lives, described Tidaback’s mother, Christina. Tidaback took the field with her father.
“She was a little speechless,” her mother said. “My husband kind of had to push her like, ‘Uh that’s you!’”
After she was crowned queen, Tidaback and the Wildcats went on to beat Hiram High School 22 to 7.
This year marks Tidaback’s first year as kicker for the team. A long-time soccer player, Tidaback’s had a pretty successful football season. She has made every field goal she’s attempted, including a 39-yard field goal and a 34-yard field goal, said Christina Tidaback. Her daughter has missed just two extra points this season.
“Taylor’s enjoying it,” she said. “The team has embraced her, and she earned their respect. The community has been 100 percent behind her.”
Tidaback, a self-described “girly girl,” has had no trouble fitting in. “I really don’t see playing with boys any different than playing with girls,” said Tidaback, who played on an all-boys soccer team when she was younger. “The guys are really fun. They’re all really great guys.”
One of Tidaback’s teammates is her brother Justin, a freshman who dresses out for varsity. Tidaback said she and Justin enjoy playing for the same team. She said she gives him a hard time on the sidelines, “like a big sister should.”
But having a girl on the football team has required some adjustments. “The coaches have made sure the correct protocol is in place with her being a young lady,” said her mother. “[The players] got direct marching orders that no one is to touch her.”
Which, in practice, means that the whole team is protective of Tidaback — especially from opposing players at games, she said.
They have had their learning moments, Tidaback said. When the coaches presented her with a pawprint decal for her helmet, she said, Tidaback exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, it’s so cute!”
“I didn’t mean cute, I meant manly. Really manly,” Tidaback joked. She told her coach, “Sorry, I’ll try to keep that to a minimum.”
The high school senior now has a tiara to hang with her football cleats. She’s enjoyed her senior year experience. “Football is so much fun, because the whole community is there behind you and cheering for you.”
Tidaback wants to attend the College of Charleston in South Carolina, potentially to double-major in chemistry and business, she said. She thinks she would like to be a pharmacist, or maybe own a pharmacy one day.
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