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Central's Wicker rocks pink cleats, mean kick

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CENTRAL - The game of football played under the Friday night lights is a time-honored tradition.

Teams travel near and far to meet their match on fields around the country. For many in Louisiana, it's not just a sport but a way of life.

When the Central Wildcats take the field against McKinley Friday night, one of the players might stand out among the rest: a kicker.  They usually don't get much attention, but this one on Central's roster is getting a chance to shine, just for being who they are.

Wearing number 30 and pink cleats, senior Lizzie Wicker is kicking down barriers by encouraging others to not let the "norm" get in their way.

"It's been one way for so many years and I've truly invaded that, but they're accepting," Wicker said.

At a practice Thursday, Wicker stood on the sidelines with the rest of her teammates waiting for her turn on the field. She picked up the love of the game from her older brother and this is her third year playing for Central. It's a game that was never seen as anything other than an opportunity.

"I just did it because it's what I wanted to do," she said. "Kind of like anything I've ever done."

Wicker is also a figure skater and that's how she met one of her mentors, former LSU Tiger and San Francisco 49ers kicker Wade Richey.

While she says there are a few people who don't think she can make it as a high school football player, Wicker says she's learned to channel her energy into the ball and doesn't let it phase her.

"There's been a few people that have been that way, even other players in the past," she says. "But, I'm still doing it."

To many it may look intimidating, but Wicker says being a girl and playing football doesn't matter. Instead, she's focused on being a teammate and the pressure of not letting her team down.

"There's pressure already as a kicker for anyone, male or female, because you have one chance and it's rare you have a second chance."

Wicker encourages others to make their goals a reality no matter what people think.

"You have a limited time to do something, so you should take advantage of that," she says.

Next year, Wicker plans to attend LSU and major in chemical engineering.

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