By Zachary Daum
Mascoutah football player, 13 year old Leann Cory, daughter of Stacie Cory was recently chosen to participate as a part of the Missouri All American Football team and has been playing in Desoto, Texas. She plays primarily defensive. The Missouri team won their first game on Saturday, January 14 against New Jersey with a score of 8 to 6.
Leann started playing football when her brother began. She saw him play and was hooked after that. “My brother played football and I wanted to do what they did. I’ve only played defense and I’ve played defensive midfielder and middle linebacker. I’ve played defensive line a lot and then I switched to linebacker. I’m a little small for that position so they’ve moved me back to defensive end. I’ve just got to tackle the quarterback, that’s my job. I think it’s cool what I’ve done but I want to do more with it than what I am now. I want to play football in college and join the women’s tackle football team in St. Louis.”
She also discussed why she plays football and what it means to her. “It’s cool. I made a lot of friends and met a lot of people. It’s cool because I get to tackle them. I get to make friends and then beat them up. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do everything that the guys can do. I can do all the things they can do if not more. Seeing people not believe I can do stuff makes me work harder to prove them wrong.”
Leann was able to join the Missouri All American Team after trying out and making the team. “It’s the best of the best. I am also the only girl on the team. Finding out I made the All American team was pretty cool. I love it. Every time I hear my coaches talk about me to other people and how they talk about me makes me happy.”
Her mother Stacie is thrilled to see what her daughter has done so far and can’t wait to see how far she will go. “She’s very determined. She is the most courageous, brave, amazing kid I could ever ask for. She’s been wrestling since she was four and she begged to play football when she was 6. We kind of pushed it off and one of her wrestling coaches was also a football coach and convinced us to let her play. She’s a leader on her team. All the boys look up to her and love her to death. That’s part of the middle linebacker position, being a leader for the team. She’s there, she taught all the boys something. If you ask one of the coaches she’s one of the hardest hitting and most dedicated players on the team. She loves the sport more than any kid I’ve ever seen, especially a girl. She does lifting and wrestling. She’s really dedicated herself to it. When we’re on the sidelines we have parents come up to us and ask, ‘is that your daughter on the field?’ and she is out there stomping those boys and we are proud. Just proud, happy and excited that she’s being recognized for her accomplishments. I can’t wait to watch her play football in high school.”
Leann’s biggest influence and inspiration is defensive coordinator Coach Drew Wion of her former team, the Collinsville Raiders. “Coach Drew mostly. He’s my defensive coach, he’s always pushed everybody really hard. He’s cool and he’s my favorite. He started helping me when I was 8 and I’ve been playing since I was 7.”
Coach Drew Wion had many strong words to say about her and how she has also affected him. “Leann is an amazing athlete. Coaching her was a complete honor. Her nickname was “Icebox” because she can hit as hard as anyone. Her being selected for Team Missouri is amazing. Seeing her get pumped for the game and then step onto that field knowing she is going to dominate the opposing team is a sight to watch. She never let the fact that she’s a girl alter her play. When I was selecting my defense, I made sure she was on it. She is a difference maker. Her accomplishments are something to be proud of. She is a warrior and is not afraid of anyone. I would call her a modern trailblazer for girls her age. She made me a better coach and watching her get this far is a complete honor. I expect nothing but great things from Leann.”
Leann played in the 9th annual D1 All American Bowl National Championship from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16. The Missouri team went on to win the D1 championship.