By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– It’s strange to think that it wasn’t too long ago that Dayton sophomore Kassidy Fuller was a cheerleader. Standing on the sidelines, watching the football game.
Fast forward to Wednesday and the Pirate Strong Safety and Running Back is now on the same turf at Coach Dewey Sullivan Field, preparing for hopefully what is her first-year ever playing football. Her brother, Kody, was a major inspiration for Fuller as she ventured out to the gridiron starting back in the Fall.
“It’s always been an interest I had. I used to be a cheerleader and I used to look onto the field and cheer for the boys, it was something I wanted to do. It just felt right,” starts the younger Fuller. “(Kody) has always been supportive, nice. Once he was playing I was like ‘I got to follow his footsteps’, it was something I gotta do.
“If I went to college saying I didn’t do it, it’ll be a big regret for me. But I’m going to college saying I did do it, so that’s a big part. That helped me.”
Finding a position was a journey in itself, not knowing where to go initially her teammates helped her with suggestions. Linebacker didn’t work, but eventually landed at safety for the five-foot-six sophomore as she eventually found herself lining up at running back.
“At first it was really hard because I had no idea what position I wanted to play. But I started to go through, the boys helped me. ’Try this. See how you like this for a change’ and I was like ‘Ok, I’ll try it’,” “Then I got to Fullback and this was perfect. I memorized all the plays; I can run through it and get the ball.
“As soon as I hit safety…I tried for linebacker and it wasn’t my thing, I tried safety and (I thought) ‘this isn’t too bad’. So, I continued with that.”
Adversity hit the young football player like a blindside hit when Fuller suffered a sprained ankle. A few days ago. What happened was when a guard came up to throw a block during a drill with Fuller at safety, Fuller fell and rolled the ankle.
“I heard it start cracking,” laughed Fuller. “And it was like, ‘oh shoot. That’s won’t be good in the morning.’”
But like Vince Papale in ‘Invincible’, Fuller got up and battled through it. Going through Tuesday’s practice before having to eventually sit out Wednesday’s practice to let the joint heal a little bit.
It was a killer as she sat back and watched, but Fuller knows it’s for the better in order to help the team.
“I kept going. I just needed to finish off the day and just kind of show that I was stronger than I thought I was. At the end of the day, I needed to rest and rest it for a bit. Build it back up to be with my team again,” Fuller said. “Once it’s healthy, I’ll like to get back out. I can’t wait to be back out and it motivates me to be back and just keep pushing through.
“Doing what I used to do.”
There is hope at the end of the tunnel though. With the recent announcement, clearing the way to let football go on at the prep level has sent some rejuvenation of positive energy through not just Dayton’s program, but the State Wednesday that football may be actually back; Fuller is excited to see how she can continue to help build the program this season and moving forward.
“I’m so excited,” Fuller said with an excited tone through her mask. “I woke up and saw the tweet. I was like ‘I can’t believe that happened. It’s been a year, it’s the best news I’ve heard in so long’ with all of this stuff happening.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald