Vineland girl Rylee Howerton wins pageants, plays football

VINELAND, N.J. (WPVI) -- A 13-year-old South Jersey girl donned her pageant best Friday night to take part in a local parade; on Sunday, she'll trade in her heels for a helmet.

Rylee Howerton is a pageant contestant winner who's about to make history when she trades her tiara for a helmet Saturday.

"I do pageants along with football," she said.

Howerton is the only girl in the Vineland Midget Football League and people are taking notice.

"Her charisma, her attitude towards and approach towards the game. She's a beauty pageant contestant but yet can turn the switch and become a football player just like that, drop of a dime," said league President Chris Wilson.

As the 7th grader from Vineland decorated her parade float she tells us she loves both worlds. The glamor of wearing a gown and the grit of playing on the gridiron.

"People say I'm an inspiration because most girls they can't because their parents won't let them or they are too afraid to get hit because they are afraid to get hurt," Rylee said.

Wilson admits Howerton had her skeptics earlier this season.

"To everyone's surprise she did not only last but competed at a high level," said Wilson.

When she hits the field Saturday at Gittone Stadium, Wilson says Howerton will be the first girl to play in a youth football championship game in the state.

Howerton says her story underscores what we already know girls can do anything.

And for as different as her two passions may appear, the one thing they have in common is what keeps this young lady hooked.

"I love competing against people," she said.

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