KNOXVILLE (WATE)- The Knoxville Lightning is one of 36 teams in the Independent Women’s Football League- an organization that spans all of North America and is dedicated to giving women the opportunity to play football.
Teams in the IFWL play by NCAA rules, meaning they can tackle just like the men.
“It’s this empowering feeling to be able to go out and hit somebody and it’s totally fine,” said Lightning Tight End Margaret Tinker.
The team has about 18 players and is getting ready head to their first bowl game.
“I love the competitiveness and working that hard and also the ability to do something where we were repeatedly told no,” said Lightning manager Erin Thomas.
After finishing their debut season 0-8 the Lightning found new motivation this past season and finished their 2016 schedule 4-4. They hope their success on the field and their presence in the IFWL bowl game will help them spread the word about women’s tackle football.
“I always tell the girls when we go out for the game that this is our opportunity, “said Lightning quarterback Sheila Sickau. “We are being the trailblazers. The game is bigger than us. It’s bigger than just the games we are playing in.”