Tulsa Memorial Student Makes History As First Female Football Player


Saturday, November 20th 2021, 12:59 pm
By: Amy Avery


TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Tulsa Memorial High School Student is making the history as the first girl to play on the Charger football team.

Junior Payton Mayberry has played in every game this season.

Mayberry said this is her first season on the football field, but it won’t be her last.

Her journey started with someone who doubted her ability. 

“Someone told me I couldn't, but look at me now. I can,” Mayberry said.

Payton plays on both the offensive and defensive line, right in the middle of all the action.

“I just felt like on guard, I could do more in that aspect,” Mayberry said. “Then, on nose, I'm like, easy to slip through.”  

Mayberry said her journey to the field wasn't conventional, but she's always loved football. She asked the coach what she could do to be ready to take the field.

Her coach gave her some workouts. Payton was determined to wear the Memorial uniform someday. 

Teammate Joshua McDill said the team had always been a tight group of guys. Now, since Mayberry came along, she has fit right in with her teammates.

"She worked just as hard. We really didn't treat her any different. She didn't want to be treated different," McDill said.

Mayberry’s weightlifting partner, Cade Gass, said he's learned a lot from her throughout the season.

"I see different sides that I've never seen in people before through her,” Gass said. “And I think she could say the same thing about me.”   

Both teammates said they haven't been tackled by Payton, and they wouldn't want to be.

According to Mayberry, dishing out a big hit is one of her favorite parts of the game.  

"Sometimes they're like, ‘Put girlie in. Put girlie in. She's the best lineman,’” Mayberry said.

Mayberry said she may be the first female to compete at the varsity level in football at Memorial, but she hopes she isn’t the last.

"The only way you can stop being limited is doing the one thing you know you can't do and that, at that point, you know you can do better,” Mayberry said.  

Showing the boys, girls can suit up, too.

"I don't want people to discount me for being a girl,” Mayberry said. “I want to also show them I can do what the guys can do.”

In addition to football, Mayberry is also on the robotics team and competes on the golf team while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average.