In her spare time, Richmond Hill’s Briley Greene enjoys crafts and reading and math.
Sometimes, she likes to color.
And, oh yeah, she likes to play football.
“I really like playing football,” said Greene, a 7-year-old Richmond Hill Elementary School student and starting left guard on the Southeast Bulldawgs, an 8U travel team from Pooler and comprised of kids from Chatham, Effingham, Liberty and Bryan counties.
“She tried soccer and didn’t like it,” said her mother, Richmond Hill City Clerk Dawnne Greene. “Did cheerleading last year and was OK with it. But she really loves football.”
Dawnne Greene, the wife of Richmond Hill Fire Chief Brendon Greene, describes the Greenes as a football family. Brylee credits her older brothers, Brady, 10, and Dawson, 9, with getting her interested in the sport.
“I saw them playing and thought maybe it would be fun,” she said. “When I started playing it was fun.”
Still, it apparently took her parents a while to warm up to the idea.
“She asked for a couple of seasons to play and we were like, ‘Why don’t you cheerlead instead,’” Dawnne Greene said. “This last year she was so passionate about it I looked at Brendon and we said ‘why not.’ So he called the director of the Southeast Bulldawgs and told them Briley had an interest in playing, and the director said they’d give her a shot.”
Briley began at running back but apparently decided she’d rather open holes than run through them. She made it through practice camp and earned a spot on the team, and then became a starter for a team that went on to win a championship.
Her coach said she’s the real deal.
“She is probably one of the best players I’ve had the privilege to coach,” said Chris Garrett, aka Coach Chris. “I love her passion for the position she plays, and she just did a great job as offensive guard. Coaches that we played against were shocked she was a girl, and realizing she was 7 and playing her first year, she did a really amazing job. I can’t wait to coach her again.”
Briley wants to play again next season, her mother said, “but if or when she decides at some point in time it’s not for her anymore, we’ll be supportive of that too.”
Briley, who has pink cleats and a pink mouthguard, said she enjoys blocking and opening holes for her teammates, and she made a pivotal block in the Bulldawgs’ championship game that sprung a running back for the winning score. And it was a pancake block, at that.
“She’s pretty good,” Dawnne Green said. “And the coaches have been wonderfully supportive of her. At the same point, they didn’t treat her any differently or coddle her or put her in a position that has low contact. She started at center but then they switched her to guard.”
Garrett said Briley is the second girl he’s coached and is noticing a pattern.
“I think I’m on to something,” Garrett said. “I began coaching five years ago and two years ago had my first girl player, Miya Campbell, a linebacker, and we won a championship, and now we’ve won another one with Briley. I’m looking for me another girl to play. Briley was just awesome. I loved every minute of coaching her.”
Briley, meanwhile, urges girls thinking about the sport to give it a try.
“I think it would be fun for them to give it a try,” she said. “I think it would be really fun for them if they tried, because it was really fun for me.”
As for the future, Briley isn’t sure but wouldn’t mind playing in the NFL, she said, and is already competing in fantasy league football against her brothers, listing Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as her favorite player.
And if the NFL doesn’t work out, she has another idea for a career in mind.
“I’d like to be a cop,” Briley said.