Women’s football: East Tennessee Valkerie keeping football going at Brown-Childress Stadium
Published 4:08 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022
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BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
Carter County is known for it’s love of high school football and now fans can continue to support the game by cheering on the East Tennessee Valkerie – a women’s football team that is part of Women’s Football Association (WFA), one of the largest women’s league in the United States.
The Valkerie are one of over 96 teams that compete in the league which has four divisions with the team playing in Division 3. Just like the NFL, the WFA has a playoff system and crowns a National Champion at season’s end. This year the championship game will be played in Canton, Ohio – the site of the NFL Hall of Fame and will be televised live by an ESPN affiliate.
Playing in miserable conditions last week that included hail and snow, the Valkerie came out on top in their game against the Virginia Firehawks out of Hampton Roads, VA by an 8-0 score. The team came into the contest as 20-point underdogs and pounded out the win by rushing the football.
Shannon Simpson is the Valkerie’s head coach and has been associated with coaching women’s football for over 20 years said that these women “play for the love of the game” because they don’t make a dime playing.
Players on the team come from Elizabethton, Knoxville, Kingsport, Jonesboro and even as far away as Charlotte, N.C. to play.
“These women didn’t get to experience the game as kids and wanted to have the experience of playing inside the game,” Simpson said. “We have housewives, paramedics, stay-at-home moms, and other players from all walks of life playing.”
One of the players from Elizabethton that Simpson mentioned was Kayla Hinkle who plays offensive and defensive line for the Valkerie. Brandon Garland also hails from Carter County and is an assistant coach who coaches the offensive and defensive line.
Fans can see the Valkerie on Saturday at T.A. Dugger as they play host to the Cincinnati Sizzle. All games begin at 6 p.m.
The season this year is shortened to six games as part of the COVID-19 protocol. However, there will be playoff games leading up to what is hoped to be a run for the National Championship.
There will be one more home game to see the Valkerie with their other three being on the road. The season runs from April to July.
“We would like to see people come out and support our team,” Simpson said. The games are played rain or shine just like other football programs.
2022 Valkerie Schedule
April 9 – Virginia Firehawks – won 8-0
April 16 – Cincinnati Sizzle
April 23 – @ Richmond Black Widows
April 30 – @ Virginia Firehawks
May 14 – Charlotte Phoenix
May 21 – @ Music City Mizfits
# Tarsh (Tarshiana) Fullard
# Kayla Hinkle
0 Melissa Young (Mo)
4 Jamie McKay
11 AJ Smiley
12 Halie Hughes
14 Katelyn Cox
18 Olivia Sapp
22 Lydia Qualls
24 Marsheta Eskridge
42 Meagan Lyons
47 Katie Foster
49 Hannah Heroux
52 Nyshavia (Deuce) Marsh
56 Cheryl Williams
72 Megan Bailey (Snake)
73 Erin Thomas (Big Red)
74 Tiffany Young (Tippy)
75 Jenny Lowe-Herron (Bravo)
76 Audrey Shipley
88 Caroline Rose
90 Mitch Coe
91 Dre (Andrea) Lankford