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Allen Park — Manny Andrade will be Rachel Caswell's escort during Homecoming at Allen Park on Friday.

The scene will play out just like dozens of other school's Homecoming festivities throughout the state.

The difference at Allen Park?

Andrade and Caswell are also teammates on Allen Park's football team.

"She gets along with everybody and it's not like we treat her any differently than another teammate," Andrade, a running back, said of Caswell, the team's kicker. "She's a good kicker and she definitely helps us out. She puts a lot of work into it."

And, Caswell is a fan favorite, too.

"She has a huge fan club," said tight end Ethan Kubik, Caswell's life-long friend and her date for Saturday's Homecoming dance. "There's at least four posters in the student section with her name on them. We try to put a lot of pressure on her during practice to get her ready, circle around her and yell in her face to try to get to her and she still kicks them through."

And, what happens if Caswell is named Homecoming Queen?

"That could be different ... a queen in a jersey," joked Kubik.

But on the field, it's no joke.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, Caswell attends football practice after school, then it's on to soccer practice with the Downriver Rush before going home to study.

She has football games on Fridays, then travels to soccer games Saturdays and Sundays.

But how did she get involved in football?

"Coach (Tom) Hoover was my history teacher my sophomore year and told me they didn't have a kicker for the next season since he was graduating," Caswell said. "I play soccer and I can kick a soccer ball kind of far, so I thought I'd give it a try. I went out that summer and tried it and they were pretty impressed."

Make that really impressed.

"She's been great," Hoover said. "She missed one field goal (and) made a field goal, and she's been (solid) on everything else (16-for-19 PATs). We're not driving the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs, but she's plunking it in the hole at the 5, plunking it in the hole at the 10, kicking it wherever they're not."

Caswell said her mother actually thought she should have tried out for football her sophomore year.

"I thought she was insane when she said that," Caswell said. "I felt like people would treat me differently, thinking it's odd. Then, I felt it would be cool to do something new, something no one's done here before.

"When I went out I felt, 'Why not make people think it's OK to be different or weird, maybe it will make them (younger girls) encouraged to do what they want.' I thought why not try it, see how I do.

"I'm glad I did. I love it."

Last season, Caswell focused on conversions, and did well.

This year, she added kickoffs to her duties.

"The first couple of weeks it was funny because she'd kick off, pick up the tee and just run to the sideline," Hoover said. "One time she had a kickoff and popped it up to the 15 or 20 by accident and the kid caught in on the fly, ran right up the chute and right by everybody, running right at her and she ran in front of him with that tee in her hand and slowed him down until help got there."

Not anymore. Caswell is always in the mix on kickoff.

And there's nothing to worry about from opponents.

"I can tell you what, no one's taking a cheap shot at her," Hoover said.

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/david.goricki

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