'She's an awesome, awesome athlete': Greenfield field goal kicker makes school history

NOW: ’She’s an awesome, awesome athlete’: Greenfield field goal kicker makes school history

GREENFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- At five-foot-three-inches, Daylanna Morgese might be one of the smaller football players you'll see when the Greenfield Hustlin Hawks take to the gridiron.

What the senior lacks in size, she makes up with impact.

"Daylanna Morgese is one of the best people in this place," said second-year head coach Mike Kubes. "She's an awesome, awesome athlete."

Following the 2022 football season, Kubes knew his team was going to need a field goal kicker. He chose a unique recruitment tactic to fill the position.

"Her (Daylanna) mom was working the concession stands in basketball and I knew she could kick really, really well," Kubes recalled. "So I asked her mom."

Morgese, who also plays club soccer and softball, remembers her mom approaching her about Kubes' request.

"She was like, 'You know, the football coach approached me today and he asked if you would want to try and kick for the football team,'" Morgese said. "It wasn't anything I ever really thought about. It was something I've never done."

After a little bit of thinking, Morgese decided to take the challenge head on and began training for the upcoming season.

"My decision mainly happened around the players in general," Morgese said. "I feel like on another team, I don't think I would have done this. I was so close with some of the boys and I've grown up with them."

Morgese's teammates embraced their new kicker with open arms, helping her learn the ins and outs of being a football player, and helping her perfect or kicking so that, when the time comes, she can put the ball through the uprights. That opportunity came on Aug. 18.

"That was just insane," recalled Morgese, looking back on her first kick. "It was just the first one, with the nerves."

Those nerves were shared by her coach.

"It was like being a proud dad," Kubes said. "You're really, really nervous."

With her team leading 6 to 0, Morgese put the ball through the uprights for her first successful PAT of her career. It was a huge accomplishment for both the player and the school, as she was the first female to score a varsity point for Greenfield football.

"I never really took into perspective like 'Hey, has a female ever scored?'" Morgese said. "For me to understand that like 'Hey, this is history,' was kind of cool."

"I was so proud of her," Kubes said, recalling the kick. "Just to get that through and the whole town erupted, the whole stands, the team, the coaches, it was one of those feelings that I won't forget for a very long time."

Now, the team is playoff bound and Morgese has been a big part of the success, scoring roughly 10-percent of the team's points. Those PATs are now an expectation.

"She knows that pressure's a privilege and she expects to kick it through every time," Kubes said. "It's been amazing to watch her personal growth, too."

Not only has Kubes watched his kicker grow, he's watched his program turn into a force to be reckoned with in Division II, filled with a bunch of young men who have been very accepting of their female teammate.

"It's amazing to see what you can do when no one cares who gets the credit, regardless of gender," Kubes said. "I'm very, very proud of the young men on our team who have accepted her."

That includes co-captains Anthony Poole and Tanner Phelps.

"She was already pretty much a part of our family," Phelps said. "We've all known her. We're all friends with her and we all just wanted to see her come out and dominate kicking."

"She's another one of us," added Poole. "We took her in as a family and that's just how it's going to continue to be."

That acceptance from her teammates has been huge for number 8 as she continues to be an important part of the squad, proving to be a role model for her teammates on the field, and many off.

"My niece, she's now our water girl because she saw Daylanna on the sidelines and wanted to talk to her," Kubes said. "I see Daylanna on gamedays wearing her jersey down the hallway and it's, she's a minor celebrity around here; but not only that, she's a great football player and an even better human being."

As for Morgese, she's grateful to her parents, here teammates, her coach, and the community for the support as she continues to prove girls can play football, too.

"I trust them full heartedly to do their job and they trust me to do mine," Morgese said. "That's what football is all about, is trusting your teammates to do what they do."

Share this article: