Female football coaches at 2 Chicago high schools meet in history-making game

Friday, September 16, 2022
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For the first time in the nation, two high school football teams coached by women faced off against each other in Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For the first time, two high school football teams coached by women faced off against each other.

That has never happened before anywhere in the country, according to the Illinois High School Association.

The Chicago Public League matchup between the DuSable Panthers and the Fenger Titans was held Thursday in Gately Stadium in the Pullman neighborhood.

Fenger fan Crystal Morrell came to see history in action.

"I'm here to support two African American women," she said.

DuSable head coach Konesha Rhea is the second woman to coach football in the CPL.

This school year, Fenger head coach Jouscelyn Mayfield became the third woman to lead a football team in the league after some encouragement from Rhea.

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Rhea and Mayfield became competitors when their teams took to the field.

"Win or lose, she and I both win in this competition," Mayfield said.

"This is the first time I can look across the field and see a me. And that means something," Rhea said.

Mayfield and Rhea said their interest in football goes back to childhood.

"I have always loved the game. I have played the game," Mayfield said.

"I was visiting my aunt in Harvey one day and the boys wanted to go to corner of 157th and Lexington and play and I joined them and fell in love with the game," Rhea said.

DuSable fan Anthony Brooks had to make a break from his wife and son at the start of the game. They're all graduates of Fenger, except him.

"I'm hoping that we win, I'm not saying Titans may lose," he said.

His son, Jayson Brooks, had a warning for his dad during the game.

"They might not be going home together tonight depending on the outcome of this game," he said.

Fenger took the game in a lopsided win.

"I'm thankful that my sister got her first victory. Even though it was against me! But my sister got her first victory," Rhea said.

But it's not the final score that will be remembered, and Mayfield took a moment to absorb what really mattered.

"There's no losses today. That scoreboard to me don't me anything. Cause what means something to me is me and this young lady shared a historic moment. That's my W regardless," she said.