CVU football not just for boys (11/13/08)

Nov. 13, 2008

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Her older sister, Tova, was a valuable member of the Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team before graduating this past spring.


    Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Tallon Tomasi (4) stands with her junior varsity football teammates during a game against Rice Memorial High last month. Tomasi was the first female to compete in football games at Champlain Valley Union High.


    Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Champlain Valley Union High junior varsity football player Tallon Tomasi (4) sets up for a play against Rice Memorial High on Oct. 20.

Brother Tino was a star on the boys varsity soccer team as a sophomore this fall.

But freshman Tallon Tomasi gets her athletic kicks in a different way during the autumn season: She plays football.

As a member of the CVU junior varsity gridiron squad, Tallon Tomasi played running back and, late in the season, defensive cornerback for the Redhawks.

In a 22-6 victory over Mount Abraham Union, Tomasi got loose for a 50-yard touchdown run late in the game to clinch the victory.

“She has an uncanny ability to find the seams and then accelerate into the open field,” jayvee coach Rahn Fleming said of the freshman scat back.

Fleming added that the smallish but speedy Tomasi was used as “a situational back,” and played for two or three offensive series in each contest.

He said she is the first girl to actually compete in football games at CVU.

The idea that football is a hard-nosed sport does not trouble Tomasi. Late in the season she got some time in on defense and added, with a bright smile, “I tackled a couple of people.”

Tomasi said the notion of playing football came to her from watching the sport on television.

“It looked like fun,” she said.

So last fall Tomasi signed up and played with the South Burlington Dolphins in the junior high age league where Fleming, then coaching the CVU area Buccaneers, saw her in action.

This season’s tryouts at CVU, she said, had her, “really scared at first.” But after the usual grind with conditioning, she said she settled into the routine.

“The physical part was pretty much what I expected, but the plays were hard to remember,” Tomasi added.

She also pointed out that there was a lot of support from the boys on the team, even those she would scamper away from for big gains during scrimmage contests.

Tomasi said her family is okay with her choice of fall sport, even though her mother “thinks I’m kind of crazy.”

She is eyeing a possible try at wrestling this winter and then a go at club rugby in the spring.

And in autumn of ’09, football is once again in the plan.

“I asked Tallon if she is going to play this coming year,” said head coach Jim Provost. “She said yes. That is what I wanted to hear.”