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Going extra lengths to kick extra points
Knights' Lutrell stays busy on field and court

 Wearing a helmet and pads is a new experience for Lauren Luttrell, but the senior finds kicking a football comes naturally.
SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 9/3/2010

BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH

Spotsylvania's Lauren Luttrell was kicking soccer balls at practice last spring when assistant coach Adwela Dawes suggested she try kicking footballs this fall.

Luttrell chuckled, got back to kicking soccer balls and figured that was that.

But this summer, when she was in the gym getting ready for volleyball practice, Dawes, who is also an assistant football coach, persisted.

So Luttrell put down her volleyball and put on her cleats and walked to the football field.

Her first extra-point attempt wobbled into the soccer goal rather than over it.

"I figured there was no way this would end well," Luttrell said.

But she was intrigued. So she came back the next day, and the next.

And then her kicks started soaring rather than sputtering.

Dawes told Knights head coach Ben Lawrynas he might have found a kicker. Except she had a ponytail and played volleyball and was a girl.

"I told him I don't care if I've got a three-headed alien as our kicker," Lawrynas said, "as long as it goes through the uprights."

Luttrell's parents didn't believe her when she came home and said she was joining the football team, while also continuing to play volleyball and travel soccer.

It concerned them at first, because what parents want to worry about their daughter being pancaked by 230-pound boys?

But it did not surprise them. This was the same girl who tore her anterior cruciate ligament last November, then returned to the soccer team midway through its season last spring.

"Once we got over the shock," Luttrell's mother, Terry, said, "we were really excited about it."

Luttrell said the first time she put on a helmet she felt like a life-size bobblehead doll.

When she arrived at her first practice, Lawrynas told the 71 boys on the varsity and JV teams that they had a new sister to watch after.

During team stretching before Spotsylvania's scrimmage against Fredericksburg Christian, a captain was going around the circle and bumping players to get them pumped up, as football players often do.

"So he grabs me by the shoulder pads and head-butts me in the helmet," Luttrell said, laughing. "Then he realized it was me and he felt so bad. But it was OK."

Luttrell said she was so nervous when she trotted out for her first extra point that she was shaking.


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TONIGHT'S GAMES (All at 7:30 p.m.)

Spotsylvania at Riverbend

Courtland at Massaponax

Chancellor at Orange

Osbourn at Brooke Point

Forest Park at Colonial Forge

Freedom at Mountain View

Halifax at North Stafford

Osbourn Park at Stafford

Fauquier at Culpeper

Eastern View at Louisa

W&L at King George

Lauren Luttrell is the starting kicker for Spotsylvania's football team, but she has recently been preceded and joined by other female kickers in the area. CAT WALLACE, RIVERBEND: Made 58 extra points and four field goals over the past two seasons, with a long of 33 yards. KELLY BORNEMEIER, MASSAPONAX (left): Made 25 extra points and two field goals, with a long of 25 yards, in 2006. EMMILEE ZUNA, CHANCELLOR: Junior kicker in first season with Chargers.