By the very essence of what they do, football kickers have to become comfortable performing under pressure. For some, it’s too much. But not Mays’ Chloe Robinson.
Not only does she stare down the pressure of being a first-year football player and a female on a team ranked in the top 10 in the state, she carries the name of a legend with her every time she steps on the field. Chloe, a junior, is the great-great-granddaughter of one of the most famous football coaches to ever walk the sidelines – former Grambling State University head football coach Eddie Robinson, one of the winningest coaches in college football history.
In fact, pressure is the reason Chloe is on the team. When the Mays football coaching staff set out to find a consistent place kicker last spring, no one from the boys soccer team stepped up, according to Raider head coach Maliki Battle. So they turned to the girls team.
“We knew her from the track team and knew that she was a good athlete,” Battle said of Chloe, who plays forward on the Raider girls soccer team. “None of the boys wanted to come out, so we asked her and she agreed.”
Senior Mhalik Mack came on board this summer as the football team’s kickoff and long field goal specialist. He plays on the boys soccer team and said the reason many of his teammates turned down the invitation to kick for the football team was due to the pressure.
“They all told me they don’t like the pressure,” Mhalik said. “When you’re out there on the field everybody can see you line up as the kicker. A lot of times the game is on the line. Everybody knows whether you messed up or not.”
Chloe just shrugs it off. “Yeah, I guess there is pressure, but not too much,” she said. “You just have to keep your head down and kick. If you don’t make it, try to make it the next time.”
Chloe, who is the team’s extra-point kick specialist, has made more than her share of kicks this season. She currently ranks in the top five in the region in success rate on extra-point kicks. She is one reason the Raiders are tied for first place in the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) Class AAAAAA-Region 6, and ranked No. 7 in the Atlanta Journal Constitution/Georgia High School Football Daily Class AAAAAA Top 10 poll.
Mays is one of five Atlanta Public Schools (APS) teams featured in three games at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, as a part of the APS Domecoming Football Classic, sponsored by The Loudermilk Family Foundation. The Raiders, who have an overall record of 5-1, 4-0 in the region, will take on Creekside (Fulton County), 4-2 overall, 2-2 in the region. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Here are the other APS Domecoming Football Classic games:
(1:30 p.m.) Therrell at Douglass: Both teams compete in Class AA-Region 6. Douglass is 4-2 overall, 2-1 in the region while Therrell is 3-4 overall, 1-2 in the region. Currently, Douglass holds the fourth and final state playoff spot in the region standings. Therrell is fifth.
(4:30 p.m.) KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (KAC) at Washington: Like Douglass and Therrell, KAC and Washington compete in Class AA-Region 6. KAC is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in the region, tied for first. Washington is 2-5 and 1-2 in the region, tied for fifth with Therrell. KAC, in just its third season of varsity football, has more than doubled its win total from the previous two years. The Warriors finished 1-9 in 2014 and 2015.
In other games involving APS teams (all games are Friday):
Hapeville Charter (Fulton County) (3-3, 2-2 in Class AA-Region 6) at B.E.S.T. Academy (2-5, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Lakewood Stadium
Lithia Springs (Douglas County) (0-6, 0-3 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at Maynard Jackson (1-5, 0-3), 5:30 p.m., Grady Stadium
Centennial (Fulton County) (5-2, 4-1 in Class AAAAAA-Region 7) at North Atlanta (1-5, 0-4), 8 p.m., Grady Stadium
Grady (5-1, 3-0 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at North Springs (Fulton County) (4-2, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Thermopylae Stadium in Atlanta
Carver (4-2, 2-1 in Class AAAAA-Region 6) at Riverwood (Fulton County) (3-3, 2-1), 7:30 p.m., Bill Hoskyn Stadium in Atlanta
A dozen members of the APS Knights water polo team were selected to compete in the Georgia High School Water Polo Association’s (GHSWPA) All-Star games, Saturday at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross.
Selected from the Knights’ A-Team, are Colin Forsyth, George Kimbrough, Bo Maiellaro and Ethan Roman.
From the B-Team, Andrew Beamon, Hayes Beamon, Jaime Matherson and Clare Wheeler.
From the girls team, Mo Mobley, Hannah Rakoski, Sam Schaffer and Ripley Smith.