‘It was the best feeling ever’: Female kicker recounts kicking game-winning extra point for S.D. high school team

South Dakota News

GARRETSON, S.D. (KELO) — It was a night to remember for 16-year-old Jenna VanHolland as she played her first football game as the kicker for Garretson, but that’s not the only reason she’s celebrating.

“She stepped up, and at the biggest time possible took advantage of using her talent,” Garretson head football coach Chris Long said.

The Garretson Blue Dragon football team took on the Viborg-Hurley Cougars Friday night. Garretson made history with the first-ever female player on their team, who then also kicked the game-winning extra point in overtime.

“It was definitely not what I was expecting. Especially to end that good of a note, you know what I mean. It’s just crazy to think about, because I never thought that would happen on the first game, let alone this season,” Jenna VanHolland said.

“It was one of those surreal moments. I think that as a football coach, you try to stay calm and collected somewhat in big situations whether it’s going well for you or maybe going bad, and as some of the videos show, I kind of lost it,” Long said.

Jenna went three for four on extra points on Friday night after only practicing with the team for less than a week. That performance made a statement.

“She’s probably only had 35 or 40 reps where we had snap, place, kick, and we timed it, and her timing between our snapper doing a good job and our holder doing a good job was somewhere right around 1.25 seconds, which is very very good,” Long said.

Jenna’s parents were in the crowd Friday night supporting her.

“It was crazy. A few tears. Couldn’t have been more proud,” Jenna’s dad Travis VanHolland said.

“I actually didn’t observe it because I was so nervous. I had to step behind the bleachers and I just listened for the crowd’s reaction, which was pretty cool,” Jenna’s mom Angela VanHolland said.

A reaction that included, players, coaches and fans storming the field.

“Everybody was jumping on me, and then all of a sudden people from the crowd started coming out and we just had this big huddle going on, and I remember coach after the game held his arms out and picked me up and gave this big hug. It was the best feeling ever,” Jenna said.

Garretson won Friday’s game with a final score of 43 to 42. They play next on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Hanson.

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